JEDDAH: A Saudi woman photographer has joined international photography’s elite after receiving a coveted artistic distinction from the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) for her images highlighting the beauty of Arabian horses.
In its message to Yomn Mohammed Al-Monla, the federation said that the “Artist FIAP” honor was given “for her efforts, work and technique in the domain of photographic art and in recognition for the eminent services she has showcased.”
The award recognizes a photographer’s artistic qualities and mastery of technique.
FIAP, based in Luxembourg, represents almost 1 million photographers and has more than 85 national associations as members.
Al-Monla, who lives in Jeddah, told Arab News that she is looking forward to receiving the certificate, badge and photographer’s card confirming her distinction.
“For me, as a female photographer, this is a great achievement and a serious distinction. I am honored and grateful to receive this recognition. I dedicate this achievement to the great support I get in my country, Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Monla decided early in life that she wanted to pursue a career that combined creativity with her love for horses and the desert, and went on to become a certified photographer.
He first attempts in 2014 took place on the equestrian fields in Jeddah, gaining her third place in the Photo Knight competition organized by the Equestrian Club in the Makkah region. She was honored by the former governor of Jeddah, Prince Mishaal bin Majid.
“This victory opened my eyes to the world of horses and drew my attention to these beautiful creatures,” she said. “From here, my love and passion for photographing horses emerged.”
Al-Monla’s major source of inspiration is the renowned photographers working around her “who strove hard and reached the highest level of photography.”
She hopes that Saudi artists and photographers eventually will gain recognition not just because they are Saudis or women but for their work.
The ambitious photographer said that her main goal is to establish a Saudi academy that offers the latest training and workshops on photographing horses and the desert.
In 2020, Al-Monla, a member of the International Photographic Union and the American Photographic Society, took first place in the night photography category as part of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization’s first e-photography competition.
“I had been entering the same event for three years before I was able to take the winning photo with ‘Moment of Light.’ It was a memorable moment for me,” she said.
Her winning photo also brought her the gold medal at the 1st Gulf International Photography Circuit 2021 held in Kuwait and the bronze medal at the Chennai International Salon 2021.
The Saudi photographer’s love for horses turned her hobby into a “passion project” that now takes her around the world.
Al-Monla has taken part in more than 50 international events under the supervision of FIAP and the American Photographic Society. She has won several awards and been included in the AFAN International Exhibition for Photography, a Saudi Embassy National Day exhibition in the US, and a 2014 World Cup exhibition in Italy.
She has won 17 prizes in various competitions with 123 of her photos.
“I hope, one day, to capture night images during the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation’s participation in international competitions,” she said.
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