A UAE-Based Photographer Created A Genius Idea To Help Support Freelancers

It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has done its fair share of harm, affecting several factors of life for those with livelihoods that depend entirely on their own skill.

For the creative freelance community, these type of jobs usually required to be physically somewhere, like for dancers and singers performing at events, models at editorial or runway shoots or DJs whose work requires that there be parties or occasions where their services are needed.

And thus, Mowjood, was born…

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@mahmoudrpm for Mowjood | موجود ​ ​I always admired hustlers and entrepreneurs, so I started a podcast to talk to them. I love being surrounded by artists and content creators, and I feed off their positive creative energy. I aim to continue to use my voice and platform to support the local hustle. Recently, I was blessed with the gift of time and got to reflect deeply about where I want my next decade to go, and the more I do so the more clarity I get. With this heightened sense of clarity and awareness, I find myself driven by a need to contribute to the marketplace in a way that really empowers all sorts of talent, to take action, and create. This drive, coupled with recent events has brought me to a project that I'm working on, an online canvas art store that aims to inspire and motivate you, while also supporting the artists behind the piece. I'm looking to collaborate on this so feel free to dm me if you can work on graphic design/digital art and are passionate about entrepreneurship. I find myself inspired by all artists, creators, and dreamers who are putting themselves out there every day. These are interesting times, and I see that It will continue to have its effect on Art to reflect our culture, our desires, and our ambitions. But I'll leave you with 3: Happiness is a problem. Action is the source of inspiration. Love is the universal language.

A post shared by ‎وليد شاه | Waleed Shah (@waleedshah) on

Following the lockdowns that took place in the UAE from March, the creative industry was hit pretty badly, with many freelancers left unaware on how to pick themselves back up or make an income through such a trying time.

Once things started settling down, and restrictions were eased, Abu Dhabi-based photographer Waleed Shah (also known for his previous work, like the ‘Rock Your Ugly’ series) saw the need to bring awareness on freelancers’ lack of work and source of income.

Through his platform, Waleed asked any freelancer to come forward, get their creative polaroids taken- after which, a photo gets uploaded on his social media accounts, with a text describing the freelancer’s line of work and the caption of the post that goes further in detail on what they can offer the general public, and/or how COVID-19 affected their line of work.

The campaign works on a ‘pay what you feel basis’

…an initiative from Waleed’s part to help other freelancers like himself. So in essence, it works in helping him keep inspired, earning money (no matter the amount), and helping out his fellow creatives in the community.


Everyone from radio hosts, dentists, content creators to graphic designers and expressionists have joined in on the campaign

LocalBH spoke to Waleed Shah on the campaign and its continuous flow since its inception since late May, wherein he stated that the campaign was going great, “More people are hearing about it from their friends who I shot. It’s become like a domino effect. The more I shoot, the more bookings I get.” 

Mowjood will keep being an ongoing campaign until commercial work resumes

Shah added that the Mowjood campaign sees no ‘end in sight at the moment,’ until commercial work resumes in the UAE entirely. At the moment, he shoots in Abu Dhabi until the end of July and will go to the neighboring emirate of Dubai for another stint.

Shah is a revered photographer in the UAE, notably known for other campaigns he’s shot like ‘Rock Your Ugly’ and ‘Magazine Cover’

Whatever it is, Shah’s work has been recognized as unique and one with a personal touch incorporated with a combination of creativity and meaning, whether societal, related to mental health, and more.

Follow his work here.

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