We had the good fortune of connecting with Samien Rahman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Samien, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I never really knew that I wanted to do this until quite recently. At its essence, I think it boils down to the satisfaction of seeing something nice that you made. Perhaps a brief story will allow you to understand just what pushed me towards this.

When I was in the seventh grade, my extended family went on a bus trip to Arkansas for the wedding reception of one of my cousins. I had an old Android phone at the time, and my only experience with photography was taking family group pictures. After a few boring hours, we stopped by McDonalds around sunset time. I got down to stretch my legs, and just looked up for a bit. I didn’t quite know how to explain what I saw. It was gorgeous, but it wasn’t too intense. It was a soft harmony of pinks, purples, blues, and oranges, with a subtle tinge of warmth over it all. “Moody cotton candy” is the closest I’ve gotten to describing it. In any case, I knew I could not explain what the sky looked like using words, so I grabbed my phone, opened its camera, and snapped a quick picture. It was a pretty mediocre photo. I couldn’t quite get it to look like what I had seen. This is where I entered the rabbit hole of editing.

I just wanted to get the picture look like what I saw, and I eventually did. A similar process was repeated for the subsequent photos on that trip– with lots of encouragement from my family. Later down the line, I began messing with the more advanced camera settings on my phone, and then my parents’ DSLR. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I turned to YouTube and watched hours and hours of content. One thing led to another, and soon I had mastered the basics, and it became a matter of practice.

After trying all sorts of things for a couple years, I finally found what I enjoy doing: Street photography.

As for the career part, that just sort of happened as a byproduct of sharing my art and taking photos for people. In all honestly, I wouldn’t say I truly pursued it. It just seemed to work out.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Doing this in the age of the internet makes it very hard to be aware of what’s imitation of what I like and what’s truly from myself. Additionally, I’m not creating anything. I like to think the arts of street and macro photography are a little different from a lot of the other types of photography, because I have to take what is in front of me, and make it look nice, while also attempting to give it meaning. I have to give a new perspective to what may be the mundane.

Nothing is planned, either. I’ll simply go on a walk and shoot whatever is in front of me, not knowing whether or not it will make for a good picture. I think it takes more effort to take anything and extract meaning while also trying to make it look good. How did I get here professionally? I don’t really know. I just sort of did things here and there. I’ll say it’s been rather easy, because I’ve been letting things roll at their own pace, but making progress has been a bit tough. I’m in high school right now so I’ve been having to put most of my effort on my education for the entirety of the time I’ve been doing this, which most definitely gets completely in the way of any plans to progress professionally. I take jobs here and there, but I’m really focusing on school for these few years.

As much as I love photography, and as much as I’d like to take this further, I’m undoubtedly prioritizing school.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First and foremost, Klyde Warren Park would most definitely be at the top of my list. There’s always something going on there, and even when there isn’t anything special, there’s so much to do when walking around that area of downtown.

Legacy West and The Shops at Legacy are two places I could not pass on taking visitors to. They’re both excellent places to eat and hang out. I get something from Amorino Gelato almost every time I visit.

Lastly, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is another beautiful place I think every visitor in the area must see.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are a good amount of people, but two friends come to mind. Zaydaan Jahangir is a long-time friend of mine, and, coincidentally, he began taking photos around the same time I did. We bounce off of each other’s ideas all the time, and he’s a great person to walk around and take photos with.

Qasem Abdeljaber is another friend, albeit I only reconnected with him relatively recently. He and I often help each other when working on pictures.

Website: https://samienr.photography

Instagram: https://instagram.com/samienr

Twitter: https://twitter.com/samienra

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.