In the age of the endless scroll, it’s rare to discover a photographer on the internet whose work really jumps off the screen. But ever since I found Yumna Al-Arashi’s website while I was still living in London, I’ve been mesmerized by the world as seen through her lens. I bought one of her prints back in 2011, and since then I’ve tracked her progression from Brooklyn, to Yemen, to her newly-adopted home of L.A. (where the print traveled with me, too, and now sits prominently on my mantelpiece).
Perhaps Yumna’s images resonate with me because of their content – she identifies “women, culture, sexuality, and travel” as key themes, all of which hold a place in my own heart and work – or maybe it’s just because she takes a really great photograph. Whether she’s shooting press shots for Theophilus London or capturing Middle Eastern women in full hijab, this young D.C. transplant captures the inherent beauty of the moment, and then turns it up several notches. The end result is at once dream-like and intense. A bit like Los Angeles itself.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Washington, D.C.
Where are you going?
Anywhere, everywhere. No boundaries.
What is your work about?
Women, culture, sexuality, and travel. Sometimes all four. I like surprising people with my work, proving people’s preconceptions wrong.
Where’s the most photogenic place you’ve ever been?
Socotra. The most magical and alien island on this earth. And it’s in my ancestral home of Yemen, a place most would never expect such immense beauty to come out of.
Who is your dream subject?
As much as I love photographing women, Christopher Walken and Andre 3000 are my absolute dreams to make photographs with.
Tell us a photographer whose name we should know.
Viviane Sassen. Her photographs are so beautiful and bright, she shoots fashion in the most unfashionably fashionable manner, and uses unexpected subjects. It takes a moment for one to absorb each piece; that’s really admirable.
What brought you to Los Angeles?
I was originally just stopping through on a cross country road trip from New York, and I haven’t left since. It’s been about six months.
What keeps you here?
Beautiful people, vast scenery, a dynamic city life, my gorgeous new home. I’m not done playing with this city just yet.