The Light Within - Part 01: In conversation with Fatima Arif

Updated: Jun 19

When we celebrate and honor the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women STEP UP every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair.”

- @Pink (twitter)

Despite all the odds and handful of opportunities available; women of Pakistan are breaking all stereotypes, proving how much capable they are. Gone are the days, when women were considered good only for professions like teaching and medical, but now they are proving themselves in every sphere of life.

The Light Within is a three-part series wherein Laiba Zaman, a writer at Perspective, interviewed three successful women entrepreneurs of Pakistan about their business, journey, and struggles. This is the first part of the series featuring a super inspiring and talented Pakistan-based photographer, Fatima Arif; her answers are really awe-inspiring and a proof of "where there is a will, there is a way".


Q 1: A brief introduction about you and your business?

Hi, my name is Fatima Arif. I’m a self-taught artist pursuing my love for art by capturing moments & people. Currently catering wedding, corporate and fashion photography. Fatima Arif Photography was officially launched in December, 2020 and within such a short span of time has become a family of people admiring our art for which we are forever grateful.

Q 2: How/Why did you start Photography? Who was your inspiration?

I’d say I always wanted to be an artist but never had in my dreams I thought I’d pursue art in the form of photography. It was just a passion unintentionally turned into a profession and here we are today.

It definitely was a surprising turn in my life. I am a travel enthusiast and have loved taking pictures for as long as I can remember so it was just something I have always loved doing, that made me happy so turning it into a profession was not a difficult decision to make.

My Inspiration was God. How He is the best artist out there who has made everything so perfect, the sky, the moon. Just look at it. It always left me awestruck so nature and people have always inspired me to capture and freeze moments. If you are talking about anyone in particular who motivated me to start wedding photography in particular that would be my friend, Sara who by the way, is also an amazing photographer. So major props to her.

Q 3 Any childhood memory you want to share that you think has shaped you into the woman you are today?

As a child I always wondered why bad things happen to Good people. I’d expect good after I had done good but my mother always taught me that it's never between you and People. Always between you & God so that really shaped me in who I am today: An empath.

Also growing up in an Asian society taught me how important it was to be independent and hence I started working from a really young age. My first job was at the age of 16 and I have been working ever since that.

Q4 : Pros/ Cons of being a female photographer/videographer in 2021?

Pros: Brides and families in general are more comfortable and feel more secure around females.

Cons: Since society is male dominated, male photographers will try to dominate you, talk you over and treat you as if they are above you even if you are senior than them professionally.

Q 5: What tips do you want to give to women, who would like to pursue their career in photography/videography?

Take inspiration if you like someone’s work but don't take it too far to a point where you lose your own style and identity. There are no shortcuts so just stay consistent. Your number of followers and the likes on your picture should not matter. Focus on quality, not quantity that would give you great results in the longer run.

Q 6: What do you do to be motivated?

I remind myself how privileged I am to be able to work, to be able to do something I love doing where so many women out there would give up anything to be in my position. I try to remind myself of how far I have come. But honestly, there are days when nothing motivates you so taking a break is as important. Its something I have realized after overloading myself with work until it made me sick and uninterested so it's important to take breaks, take a day off, go on a trip. If you get tired, Pause, don’t quit.

Q 7 : What are some challenges faced by female Entrepreneurs/ photographers in Pakistan?

Society, particularly men, don't take them seriously just because they are women. People can't absorb the idea of an independent, skilled woman because they are not used to seeing women at such positions. So its high time we change that perspective. Slowly but surely, the change is coming. However, there is still a long way to go.

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