Issa Moussa is an innovative photographer with five years of experience managing the business aspects of the craft. His responsibilities range from discussing technical problems to checking for quality, presenting, negotiating, dealing with clients’ concerns and easing their fears from start to finish of a project. Yet what holds more appeal than capturing a moment or being a good storyteller, is using that tool to express his love for beauty.
What’s the best part of being a photographer?
To mix with all classes of society and make a difference in people's lives, which is literally the best part of being who I am.
The hardest part of your job?
That would be working on a daily basis, including weekends, while managing everything by myself such as balancing personal finances, contracts, social media and promotion, research, website updates, blogs, expenses, photo editing and shooting.
If not a photographer who you would have been?
I definitely would have become a dancer as it is the most intense art that expresses my inner emotions, especially in how it relates to the exhilarating connection between my eyes and body.
How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?
There is creative aspect in the sort of things that interest me. My style is a continuous pattern in the way my pictures are taken, which might explain why I'm more into night photography. After all, there is a lot of beauty out there that is worth viewing, which few years back I felt the need to translate.
Which photographers inspired you most and how did they influence your thinking, style, and career path?
Inspiring photographers are the individuals who opened my eyes to new places, cultures, and unseen beauty. Ansel Adams' photographs have inspired me to take great pictures and learn more. His touch of black and white made my eyes go beyond our beautiful world.
And through the eyes of "Afghan Girl" by Steve McCurry, I found humanity, bravery, grace, and a deep artist. I then attended university to study Radio and Television. But It was more than that, I decided to develop my style by spending a lot of time on the street taking photos and sharing love of life to fulfill my imagination, insight, creativity, and senses.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Immersing myself in art books is a way for me to expand my mind. I also attend art galleries, workshops, and observe the world. I also never forget that the core skills are essential for practice.
Do you use digital cameras and what has been the influence of such technology on your work?
I use DSLR cameras, which combine precision and real time. The role of digital photography goes far beyond just capturing a moment. It also allows me to show the world exactly how I am seeing it at that very moment.
What kind of mode do you go into when photographing a concept or idea?
To create unique and artistic photographs, I always prefer to take control of my camera by choosing manual mode. While working on a concept that I am passionate about, I allow myself to get away from the busy and hectic world by focusing on capturing a certain beautiful moment. My eye and mind tend to respond to visual stimuli, which is when I then start creating the right balance between comfort and surprise simply by the proportion I allocate to elements in the frame. It involves being certain of what I'm trying to achieve, especially when creativity and inspiration are well integrated inside my mind.
Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
This beautiful universe was my first inspiration. I remember stopping my car to watch the night sky. It was sprinkled with stars. Suddenly I caught a shooting star. That was the first time I decided to buy a camera. The intensity of delight I got opened my eyes to a different perception. Also, I create good imagery through my own philosophy, talent, eye, perceptions, and sensitivity.
What is the favourite image you have shot recently?
"A night walk in downtown Beirut" is my favourite. It is a photograph that combines vintage buildings with modern life style, architecture, and living in a fast lane. The black and white stand for the past, the colourful light streams for the present, and the buildings are what joins the two.
I worked on capturing the quality in a purely visual way. It was a bit difficult, because what I perceived about this image was not the way I actually saw it. I wanted to take a picture that expresses what I feel, and there wasn't enough light. So I adjusted my camera setting (ISO - Shutter speed - aperture), I checked my lens, then I looked for a better angle, and a different perspective.
What makes a good picture stand out?
A good image needs to convey something new, like a story or idea. In addition to other factors like composition, framing, and lighting.
Exactly what is it that you want to say with your photographs?
My main purpose is to overcome all the circumstances that we are facing by covering all the aspects of daily life and showing people that life is a beautiful journey to walk though. Of course it needs a lot of effort, planning, and time to achieve it. I believe that the change is worth a try.
What has been your most memorable session/assignment and why?
I have a weakness for old people. I see life through their eyes and I am attracted to them more than any other. I wish to stop time at a certain age and keep them alive through my lens in a single photograph. I am preparing for a project that explains the unique connection between old people and trees. I am so excited to see the results.
Do you get to work with ad agencies on specific assignments?
I am a freelancer and have worked for several companies. I thrive on development, so currently I’m looking for an opportunity to apply my technical experience and creative skills in an innovative advertising campaign.
Do you see yourself as a photographer many years down the road?
I definitely value what I do and everyday holds a new chance to develop my skills and discover new talents.
What advice do you have for photographers just starting out?
I recommend reading and practicing, as well as learning something new by drawing inspiration from photographers.
On the technical front...
Nikon or Canon, other? Canon.
Favourite lens? Using lenses differ from one situation to another, I prefer prime lenses.
Favourite photography accessory, other than your camera? I can’t be specific when it comes to such a question, because I love all kinds of accesories that are related to photography.
Favourite editing accessory, other than your computer? Professional photographers don’t have to use photoshop tools, they focus on camera settings.
What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.? I use lightroom.
Are you a Mac or PC lover? Mac.