Hidden under an unassuming cover, "The First Novel" by photographer Hamad Al-Sarraf captures a thrilling visual journey through four cities: Kuwait, London, Cairo and Kiev. This artistic journey is formed through 39 black and white photographs and sections of selected prose balancing out the stunning images.

This isn't the usual journey though. Al-Sarraf went through a two year trek of self-discovery to find out more about his personality and what makes him the person he is today. He first started photography in 1985 with the help from family members who had experience in the craft and then he began taking advanced photography courses in 1995. With time, black and white photography became a non-stop passion towards expressing the way he views the world and his surroundings.

An expressive medium indeed, the black and white photographs are very intense and beautifully composed. Each image leaps from the page and is packed with strong emotions, sending the viewer into that specific time and space captured by AlSarraf's lens. The literary prose supplements the images very naturally, giving the reader the chance to tag along on Al-Sarraf's reflective journey. The section about Cairo is the most powerful; the photographs really give you an authentic sense of the Egyptian culture and Al-Sarraf exceptionally highlights the shots with the accompanying thoughtful paragraphs.

Divided under four chapters for each of the respective cities he toured, the book seamlessly takes you from one pit stop to the other. From the natural landscapes and outdoor shots of Kuwait to the raw portrait shots in London, "The First Novel" delivers an outstanding blend of mysterious yet powerful photography and prose in an extremely well-presented book.

For more information about Hamad Al-Sarraf and his photography, visit hamadalsarraf.com. Also be sure to visit his solo photography exhibition 17 – 28 April 2011, for more details about the event click here

– Khaleejesque

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