Summer Ameen Weeks has been fascinated by people for as long as she can remember. At college, she decided to further this interest with a major in sociology, but changed track a few years later to pursue film making at the London Film Academy.
“I’d wanted to study people and their behaviour patterns, but I discovered that going behind the camera was the best way of doing this,” she says.
After shooting for family and friends, Summer turned professional three years ago, offering family and fine art photography for clients across the GCC. Her forte lies in maternity and child photography, and she’s adept at working with children across all age groups.
Summer has received two awards at the Professional Photographers of America’s International Photographic Competition for two of her fashion images. Her work is being displayed at exhibitions in the US and internationally throughout 2013 as part of the association’s travelling Loan Collection. It will be published in the annual Loan Collection Book, which showcases the chosen best from competition winners.
The announcement initially left her completely dazed, she confesses.
“I’d never dabbled in fashion photography and these images were the first batch I ever shot in this genre. I had hoped to make it in the merit list, which is the first round, but I never dreamed of making it into the Loan Collection.”
Working solo can be challenging for a mum of two kids, but Summer is a self-motivated professional who works five days a week, either at her studio at home or at outdoor shoots.
“A photographer can only improve with critiques from other professionals and it’s essential to network with those whom you admire. You gain inspiration by viewing the works of others and the latest trends worldwide at workshops and exhibitions,” she says, adding that she often participates in workshops in Dubai and beyond.
Summer says her biggest achievement rests in the fact that she was able to turn professional as a self-taught working mum in Bahrain. In the absence of any tangible guidance, she took online courses in pitching and pricing her work as well as dealing with clients.
Her schedule for the summer is fully booked with family and commercial art assignments, and she intends to focus on more on the latter in coming years.
“While family photography is a passion of mine, I intend to spend more time on fine art and commercial photography,” she says.