Saudi Arabia Through the Lens: Photography and Visual Stories

Antara sunset

Humans have always told stories. Be that with words or art, since time immemorial, humankind felt the drive to transfer meaning, knowledge, and experience to others. And, even before the written word existed as a concept, images were the best tool to do so. While drawing and painting have their own artistic merits, it wasn’t until the birth of photography that our tools to convey images became truly representative of reality. Opinion is divided on when exactly that was, but the accepted fact is that nothing has come close to bringing the world to you, wherever you are. 
An excellent destination that offers ample opportunity for breathtaking photography is Riyadh. Whether you consider the locale beautiful and exotic, or simply appreciate the city’s cultural and cosmopolitan significance, Riyadh is a hotspot for the photographers both aspiring and accomplished. 

Cinematic Views

Starting with the natural sights of Saudi Arabia, its vast seas of sand, its majestic dunes and imposing cliffs, both desert and coastal, or its lush oases, there is truly no place quite as unique. 
Especially the Najran and the Hail provinces – marry the natural beauty of the terrain with the artistic and cultural sensibilities of the region, with ancient temples and sites, in an impressive display of art carved right into the rock, that is waiting for visitors to immortalize on camera in their own unique way. 
Or, if you prefer the human-made, urban kind of beauty, Riyadh itself is home to impressively stunning works of architecture. Buildings such as the iconic Kingdom Centre, or the equally iconic Al Faisaliyah Tower, stand out in the Riyadh skyline, one embracing the sky, the other defying it. 

Faces of Riyadh

Individual buildings aside, showcasing a perfect blend of modern and traditional Arabic elements, the architecture and city layout of Riyadh itself offers many sights worthy of capture. From the bustling traditional markets (better known as souks) to the beautiful public art, and from the popular parks and their visitors to awe-inspiring locations such as the KAPSARC Mosque or the King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh is a city that has to be seen to be believed, a city that invites you to see it through a lens for yourself. And not just for its unique inanimate sights, but also for the human factor: people’s moments in the many parks and streets of Riyadh, the hustle and bustle of the streets and the markets, a living culture waiting to be explored and captured. 

However, one shouldn’t assume that it only takes an experienced photographer’s eye to see what Riyadh has to offer. Even if you lack the experience, all it takes is the willingness to learn thanks to various workshops and learning programs to help you take advantage of the scenic opportunities and to train you to put visuals -and your vision- to frame.  

And if you do have the experience, and the drive, all you would need to do in Riyadh is simply to look around. 

Drone view of Antara