The main goal of photographer Ishaq Madan’s work is to bridge the gap between the Middle East and the broader world, and it’s a feat that his portfolio achieves in spades. Born in the country of Bahrain, Ishaq’s work offers a technicolour look into the lives of his subjects and their culture, complete with the warm hues and sandy landscapes that comprise the broader Persian Gulf region.
With such a bustling home country to document, Ishaq tries his hand at capturing Bahrain’s more colourful moments, from a pair of kerbside skateboarders to a horse carriage adrift at sea. Ishaq describes these unique scenes as “painting-like photographs” and “visual stories”, and says they reflect his broader enjoyment of photography as “a passport to another world, where it silences all the noise of reality.”
The 29-year-old first stamped this passport at the age of 10, when he acquired his first point-and-shoot camera during a summer trip abroad. Years later — when Ishaq took on photography as a more serious profession — it was the Nikon D3200 and Nikon-maxi that best captured his multicultural vision. It’s behind these digital lenses that Ishaq is best poised to showcase the visual splendour that is Bahrain, from its angular architecture to its playful street-bound residents.
“Street photography in general is my bread and butter,” Ishaq says of his favourite shoot locations — and while much of his work is bound by the neverending antics of urban life, Ishaq admits that, just like the diversity of his subjects, he’s “never quite been able to define [his style].” Unbound by a particular aesthetic, Ishaq’s portfolio accurately showcases the variety of Bahraini life. “Perhaps I would rather not add a label to it,” he concludes.
It’s fitting that a photographer so focussed on documenting his vibrant culture counts “connecting with people” as one of his fondest career memories. “I would have never been able to meet these people without photography and travelling to places,” Ishaq recalls. And with such energetic stories to tell, we’re glad we connected with them too. Meet some of the locals Ishaq documents with his full Frames portfolio below, and head here to follow him on Instagram.