If you feel like your feed wouldn’t suffer from some striking natural beauty, ancient architecture and snippets of vibrant street life, then look no further than the Middle Eastern country of Oman. Here, Annika Heath rounds up five local Instagram accounts to follow
Oman isn’t only home to a wealth of glorious historical heritage, traditional culture and lively local life, but somehow this country lucked out with a ridiculously beautiful natural landscape too. Its Wadi Darbat national park and striking ‘Gorge Between Cliffs’ are pretty much as good as it gets for your classic ‘stunning outdoor photography shot’. Its port capital Muscat, with its colourful souks, architecture and array of fresh seafood, also does pretty well in the aesthetic department. What can we say, perfect for Instagram. Well, here are our top five accounts capturing the country’s intense beauty.
Soft light and dreamy hues: When he’s not busy at his day job as a software consultant, Pakistani photographer Imran Zahid captures the country’s immense sculptural beauty in an almost ethereal haze. Passionate about photography as a means of expression, Zahid holds photography tours and workshops around the country, and has an eye for capturing delicious food market spreads, dawn-lit landscapes and figures framed by Muscat’s doorways, which make frequent appearances in his posts. Be it rustic street life or striking scenery, @imrzahid’s pictures let you float through Oman with a calm intimacy.
Capturing the authentic everyday as it unfolds before him on his iPhone, Philadelphia-born photographer Erin Yard (@niredray) really gets under the country’s skin. Currently living and working in Oman, Yard focuses on developing a deeper, personal connection with his subject matter. With a penchant for monochrome (“I photograph whatever moves me… currently it’s black and white and it’s on the streets,” he says), his photography captures any little quirk or moment that grabs his interest, like a boy walking through his neighborhood with a bunch of wild flowers or the story behind a local’s tattoo. The often personalized captions will allow you to truly engage with the individual lives of its citizens.
With their clean, strong and striking aesthetic, Anfal Shamsudeen’s photos capture some of Oman’s most famous landmarks and historical architecture, from the Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque all the way to the stunning Hajjar mountains. However, this is an Insta feed with a difference – Shamsudeen’s keen eye captures architectural details to create stylized (and often symmetrical) images of buildings. His use of colour also serves to create an artistic vision of the country’s elaborate and traditional urban style, in what is more of an abstract than purely realistic interpretation. In doing so, @anfalshams elevates Muscat’s heritage and provides a fresh and exciting vision of the city.
Having moved to Oman from Australia, Jade Spadina Mackenzie (@jadespadina) photographs everything from secret stairways and charming doorways to idyllic swimming spots and art cafés. Her posts provide an intensely personalized view of life in Oman, documenting everything from day trips and expeditions to local meals, and all without losing any of that Insta aesthetic. While she describes herself as an ‘Expat Wife AKA Lady of Leisure’, the many Omani friendships she and her husband have made mean that they can experience the country off the tourist map, for instance seeking out the ruins of an old mudbrick village in the hills or the many hidden, backstreet Muscat cafés.
Free climbing, top-of-the-world views and remote villages: the 20-something Muscat-based freelance photographer Zuhair Alsiyabi explores Oman’s extreme landscapes, snapping them along the way. Documenting his experiences with his fellow photographer/filmmaker friends, @zuhair_alsiyabi will fill your feed with exhilarating outdoor adventure, intimate cultural portraiture, like a father-son preparation for Eid Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan celebration, and insights into his family life in Muscat. This energy makes us want to get up and go!