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Tariq Duff


Tariq Duff

by Fiona Killackey
on 20 December 2007

For most of us our holiday snaps involve a few tourist-ridden temples, the beach, cocktails, the inside of a hotel room and some candid "look-at-my-tan" poses. Yet for London-based Tariq Duff, the images captured during his travels of the world have led to the Bahrain-native exhibiting around the world and selflessly donating any money earned to charities. CH caught up with Duff on a frozen day in London to discuss chemicals, charities and why he's eager to give back.

Why photography?
I've always had a good eye for detail and composition, so when I went traveling I picked up a camera for the first time in years and started snapping. Self-taught with no traditional upbringing on how to use a camera, I felt that this area was far more exciting. The interaction with people and different situations is what I really enjoy.


What's your earliest memory of being inspired by photographs?
I was around eight. I used to fly over to the U.K. for summer holidays in the countryside with my grandparents. My gramps was a keen amateur photographer and used to take photos of us and then show us how he used to convert the negatives into prints. The dark room, the funny red light, the smell of chemicals…

The biggest compliment you have received in relation to your art?
That it's moving. It tends to make people think of other things in life. Almost like an emotional grab.

How do you think technology helps/hinders the art of photography?
This part is always controversial. I have to say that if it weren't for technology I wouldn't have the photos that I have today. I'm not the techno type to waste time trying to correct an image. I act on impulse and the moment. I'm a trial and error type, which is why technology in art helps me in this area.


What music are you listening to as you write this?
Jackie Mittoo and The Soul Brothers: "Chicken And Booze"

Greatest memory that you didn't have the time/opportunity to capture?
When I briefly came back to London before heading off to Belize, I came across Bank tube station on a Tuesday morning at rush hour. All the builders were out having their "break" checking out the women exiting the tube. There was an old man slumped against the scaffolding with his elbow keeping him up with a cigarette in the other hand. The shot was perfect. Tube station in the foreground with this old man who forgot to put his tape measure away. The tape measure was extended out near his penis. Classic. He was just there watching the women with this tape measure extended out! Viagra? Who needs it!!!

You're involved with charities. What draws you to that side when you could so easily turn this into a profitable hobby?
I feel that I've had a lot of praise from my work at the expense of others. The people in the photos were friends that I meet on the road traveling. Most had nothing so I try and give a percentage of my proceeds to charity whenever I can. It's all about giving something back. I won't be here if I didn't have them...A lot of the times they made the shot.

Who's work do you really admire?
To be honest, I haven't really been in on the who's who in photography. I admire any strong image with depth. Some work that I enjoyed recently was that of Taryn Simon and Lee Miller. Andreas Gursky has always been a fave as well.


What makes a moment/face/place beautiful in your eyes?
The experience that comes with it.

Where can we see your work? Online at present. Hopefully I'll be able to exhibit some new pieces in the near future.

Anything else you'd like to say?
Don't waste the moment with being too technical. Just run with it and see what happens....

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