Event Review: Peter Gould’s “The Road Less Travelled”
Who: Peter Gould
Where: Darul Arqam (Muslim Converts’ Association)
When: Friday, 7th October 2011
By: Darul Arqam[/box_dark]
[quote]Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth[/quote]
I could not help but to be reminded of Robert Frost’s poem entitled “The Road Not Taken”, that is often mistakenly known as “The Road Less Travelled” when I came across the title of the talk – that was named after the latter – Brother Peter Gould was presenting on at Darul Arqam last Friday. However, I was there because I was intrigued by this Australian Muslim graphic designer and digital artist, whose travels and photographs of the Muslim world inspired him and his artworks.
At that point of time, I was having a personal dilemma in my own mini project where I used an Instagram account to display Islamic related photographs I take. The problem with this particular hobby was that sometimes I get a mental block in the creativity department. On top of that, there is an increasing social pressure around me where I see my own peers winning competitions and getting rave reviews by posting photographs of all sorts of categories on their own Instagram accounts.
The idea of giving up posting a specific-based collection was just too tempting. With this knowledge, I just had to attend that talk and meet Brother Peter Gould himself, basically for some motivation to keep going.
Peter Gould’s Inspiration & Humility
Brother Peter found his inspiration in Spain when he was photographing the architecture that was left behind by the Muslims who conquered Spain in the past. He started travelling to other parts of the Muslim world like Mecca, Morocco, Syria, Jordan and Jerusalem and often found his trips and photographs rewarding.
He loves how some of the area’s cultural elements were built into the designs of some mosques. This allowed him to just focus on capturing the spirit of the place itself.
Now here is the difference I find between Brother Peter and other photographers including myself. He said about the architecture he had seen in his travels,
[quote]“It’s hard to take a bad photo because of the beautiful architecture. Less credit should be made to oneself.”
“What a humble attitude he adopted,” I thought to myself. So the next step he took was probably one of the most incredible things he has done in his life. He contemplated about how those photographs and its details related to him. This simple thought sprouted branches of refreshing creations and abstract graphic designs that helped propel him to the international audience.
You could find dozens of products with an Islamic twist including T-shirts, wallpaper for your newborn, board games, CD Album covers of popular artistes, Ayaat-a-day calendars as well as an iPhone app that could compete in the Popular apps market.
What was astonishing was that it gave him an opportunity to cast Islam in a positive light. He even suggested to the audience to think of something graphic that would resemble a Singaporean Muslim icon!
Advice for Aspiring Graphic Designers
When asked about what advice he could give to aspiring graphic designers, digital artists and photographers, he reminded to start with a good intention, then said to put value in our work, volunteer our services to get experience and finally to think about how to make our talents into a business.
Personally, I am really pleased to just know that there is somebody like him who does not stop at being inspired but actually extends that inspiration with one’s talents to benefit himself and the Ummah.
I could not leave without having a word with him and shared him a website to some of my works to his delight. Little did he know how much motivation he had given me to persevere in my own personal photography journey with a newfound confidence. Who knows where this will lead me one day. Allah will give you only if He thinks it is good for you.
[quote]Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference[/quote]
Salman is reading Psychology and is in his final semester in National University of Singapore (NUS) insyaAllah.