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This Instagrammer from Peshawar shares the stories around her

Instagram Pakistan Series Azeema Ilyas @_zeemee

Azeema Ilyas (@_zeemee) is a social science student and Instagrammer from the the city of flowers, Peshawar. She mostly shares portraits of random and common people of Pakistan, explores historical places and posts them with very beautiful Urdu and English captions. Let’s know more about her Instagram and other things in life.

Hi, @_zeemee!

How long have you been on Instagram?

I made my Instagram account in Ramadan 2013. I remember the first photo I posted was of bowl of jammun. It was an overly edited unattractive picture something I can’t even imagine posting now.

What do you think people look for in an Instagram photo? Do you think the photos should tell a story?

Everyone has their own way of looking at life and its objects and everyone has a different pursuit. I am not really sure what different people look for in an Instagram photo… some might be looking for an escape, some peace, someone might be using them as a source to live a fairy tale they dreamt of or some as a source of peeking in others’ souls or discovering their own selves or finding the creator and others might be looking for a tale, an untold story. I am a social sciences’ student, I believe you can’t objectively define what people are seeking. Humans are very different, their minds work differently. That depends… sometimes you want a picture to encompass a life story in it other time you want something very abstract, something which is very open to interpretation, very vague.

Instagram Pakistan Azeema Ilyas @_zeemee

Instagram Pakistan Azeema Ilyas @_zeemee

Do you ever join in on Instagram’s #projects, like #tbt or weekend #hashtags?

I am a non-conformist. I don’t like doing things that others are doing… or at least that is what I like to think. I find Instagram projects very cliché (no offense to anyone), I never really had an urge to participate in them.

What are your 5 favorite photo apps?

ii. VSCO
iii. VSCO
iv. Photoshop
v. Snapseed

VSCO because that is the only app that I have command over and is convenient. I just know basics of Photoshop, I rarely use it because I am too lazy to edit pictures on laptop and then transfer them to phone. And I recently downloaded Snapseed, I love how it brings out details in pictures.

What remains the biggest challenge when shooting with your phone?

The quality… may be! I never really take photos with my phone for Instagram so I am not really sure.

Do you have any training in photography or are you completely self-taught?

I took a course of photography in university but didn’t learn much in that class. I learned most of the things by my own through practice and sometimes seek help of fellow Instagrammers.

Instagram Pakistan Azeema Ilyas @_zeemee from Peshawar

Sunset Instagram Pakistan @_zeemee

Who are some of your favorite Instagrammers?

I am a big fan of Abhinav Chandal (@abhiandnow), his photos and his captions are just out of the world.

Then comes Siddharth Joshi (@siddarthajoshi), he does magic with his lens. His photos are really entrapping with strong expression. And plus point, despite all the fame he is super down to earth and humble.

Kainat Ali Khan (@dupattadiaries), she is a feminist who knows how to use her camera to raise voice against different issues concerning females prevalent in our society.

Kadir Khan (@effneck), I am a total fan of him. He has the power of making ordinary things looks extra-ordinary.

Nida Alvi (@nidalvi_), her edits are the best.

I would stop here because the list is very very long and it will bore out people.

Share a happy moment from your childhood.

When we were kids, we would go to our grandmother’s village to spend summer vacation along with our cousins. When my mom, aunts and grandmother would go to sleep in the afternoon we would sneak out of the house and go out to steal melons from other people’s farms. I don’t know why but there was some kind of ecstasy about it. Plotting to steal, then executing plan, then getting chased by the owners.

Instagram Pakistan Azeema Ilyas @_zeemee girl from Peshawar

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A small house in some far away lush green meadows with a swing in the front lawn, a small kitchen garden, chickens, goats, sheep, a cow, a pony, a big library filled with novels and freedom to do whatever I feel like without any restrictions. And some beautiful, full of life people to be surrounded by. And unlimited supply of beautiful stationary.

Where is a dream destination that you would love to visit and photograph?

Greenland and Iceland… I was drooling the whole time I was watching ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. I want to go to these countries and capture their beauty so bad!

Instagram Pakistan Azeema Ilyas @_zeemee

Do you want to say anything else?

You are asking a chatter box if she wants to say more… LOL! I always want to say more and more!

I have recently been thinking a lot about photography and how we all want everything, every event in life to be picture perfect and beautiful. There is nothing wrong with wanting to capture moments but sometimes in the process we kill the beauty of them. So please once in a while leave your camera, your phone or whatever you use to take pictures with behind and let things happen in flow without interrupting them, absorb them, live them wholly without trying to capture them.

Interviewed by @clickaey

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