[Note: Originally posted on my wordpress blog, 13/10/14. You can see more of these pieces in the still life gallery on this website.]
It was following the first photoshoot I did for Sheikha Fatema Al Qassimi and her company, Sough Jewellery, that, as a photographer, I realised I wanted to focus on the fashion and lifestyle genre over any other. I also thoroughly enjoy working with young and ambitious companies, those who share the same values as me, where operating creatively and on a personal level is of paramount importance. It is with these organisations that you can witness quality work; this was evident on the first Sough project 18 months ago and nothing has changed. When the pieces for this collection were shown to me I was immediately ‘wowed.’
This was a very different collection to the last I shot; these are executive gifts, accessories ideal as mementos, to show gratitude and will definitely make an impression. Whilst gifts of a useful and practical nature, they are not your typical key chain, bookmark or pair of cufflinks, as each piece clearly radiates tribute to real Arabia, especially Ras Al Khaimah.
I set up a product light box in the Sough office in Julphar Towers whilst each piece was checked and prepared. Once the shoot was finished, i had the chance to sit with Company Founder and Designer, Sheikha Fatima:
It was a pleasure to be working with you again, and once again, the pieces I were photographing are very beautiful. Can you tell me what inspired you to design these?
The pieces we shot were inspired by the UAE culture, which personally, has always played and will continue to play a huge roll in my life. The word ‘Sough’ means ‘gold’ in old, traditional Arabic, and it comes from ‘saygh’ who is the goldsmith.
My grandmother wore a ‘Burgu,’ the mask that would cover her face, but never her strength; her strength could always be seen in her eyes. I attached the burgu to the ‘Uqal,’ the headpiece that my father would wear and which signifies pride and dignity. This portrays the story of the compatibility between men and women in this culture and how traditions in fashion and lifestyle are also connected.
But inspiration can come from everywhere, somewhere different every day, whether that be the smell of a perfume, nature, people and emotions, even coffee!
So how did you come to be a designer?
I was always a gemstone collector and I grew up an artist; the combination of both hobbies was formed when I decided to study ‘Jewellery Business Management.’ It was during this that I knew I wanted to be a designer.
What was the first piece you ever designed or created?
It was a ring for a friend, with the first letter in Arabic, ‘sheen’ for ‘Shatha’
Was it your ultimate ambition to go on and establish Sough?
Sough is simply just the seed from where I want to grow as a professional. I have taken the time to build the perfect team and produce high quality pieces before I continue on to my biggest dream…
It sounds like more exciting plans are ahead! Back to this collection; are you still designing jewellery or are creating gifts the priority focus now?
From a business perspective gifts are a great line to produce, but as an artist, my love for being creative will keep me balanced.
Can you give me some insight into the materials you select and the techniques employed when constructing the pieces?
We use 18kt gold or silver, diamonds and precious stones as well as semi-precious stone. Everything is handmade in the workshop. I believe that each piece made with hands will always have a soul.
That’s certainly a beautifully appropriate sentiment; do you have any other favourite quotes?
One by Joseph Chilton Pearce, “To live a creative life, you must lose the fear of being wrong.”
I like that. What about other designers: any favourites?
Many; one is Ambaji Shinde, he was known as ‘the man who romanced the stones.’
And very highly regarded by Mr Harry Winston! So is there a famous person for whom you would like to design a famous piece?
I don’t have a celebrity in mind – it makes me happy to see anyone wearing my pieces.
Thank you very much, Sheikha Fatima. Good luck with the collections and your journey.
Sough’s new website is currently in the final stages of design before launching very soon. In the meantime, you can contact the main office in Julphar Towers, Ras Al Khaimah on +971-7-2443349. Some pieces and collections can be viewed on instagram (@soughjewel).