Fantasy photography | Interview with Kadeeja Al-Saeed

Kadeeja “KD” Al-Saeed, is a Saudi-American aspiring photographer who has recently started providing services as a professional photographer. She started as a teen snapping photographs of anything and everything, but it was only in her early twenties that she became concerned with  re-working those photos, and adding her own touch of fantasy to them. She is currently completing her studies in Art History and Photography in the USA.

Self Portrait
‘Self Portrait with Cat’

The ‘It’s Art’

The first piece of ‘art’ I ever made probably holds its meaning in the story behind it. I was a young teen, and after months of playing around with my mom’s camera, I had decided one day that I am an artist creating art. My older sister was always teasing me, saying that I didn’t know what I was doing. So one day, as we sat having Chinese food for dinner, I took all the fortune-cookies and aligned all the papers on my plate sticking them with the food. I took a picture of it, developed it, and held it up to her face stating: “See! It is Art!” I later framed it, and titled it “It’s Art”. I still include a photo of that plate now on my website. It’s fun and light, and recreates a dream world for me.

The Moustache


The idea of the moustache photos came up when I had a moustache-themed birthday party a few years back. I asked my friends to wear beautiful dresses, put on make up and get their hair done and then add a moustache to that. The idea later on appealed to me more and more, and I found myself truly fascinated by the mixture of  extreme femininity and a very strong distinctively masculine feature.

The Pop-Art album

'Girl with a Lantern'
‘Girl with a Lantern’

The idea for the pop-art album came to me spontaneously. I was interested in ‘playing around’ with a photograph, and became increasingly invested in bringing out a different side of it. There is a play on colours, and often a sort of emphasis on a part of the photo, in a way that leads your eye to see it the way I imagine it to be . I have had friends who were so into the photos I made, they actually sent me their own photos for me to ‘pop-art’ up! And I did. And the coolest thing about those photos, is that you don’t really know how they will turn out; each photo looks completely unique and different than the other, it holds its own inspiration within it and once I start to play around with it and try different techniques that comes out!

The old days of film

I still try to use film every once in a while, and I truly enjoy developing my own photos. It’s a beautiful process, that I appreciate very much. It takes time, each photograph is its own unique piece that you take care of and treat, and watch as it develops and comes into existence.

Film photography is also beautiful because it reflects to me a sort of authenticity and preciousness sometimes lost in digital photography. On another level, it’s also better quality in the sense that it’s not pixilated, and you can go as big or as small with a film photograph as you want. Often when working with digital photos, my goal is to adjust them so they look like film, which to me seem more flawless and more often than not accentuate the beauty of a photo.

The Sketches

Self portrait in make-up
Self portrait in make-up

I started sketching as an outlet for some ideas, and with time that became sort of a form of art I enjoy doing for and onto itself. The nice thing about sketching is that I can experiment with different materials and paints, or just use a traditional pencil. One of my favourite sketches is a personal portrait I made using make up: foundation for the background and lipstick, blush and eye pencil for the rest of the portrait.

One portrait I really enjoyed was my ‘Saudi American’ one. It reflects how people view me within each of these environments. In Saudi people always say I look blond, and in America everyone finds me dark! And I feel I am neither and both. I felt that this sketch kind of reflected that dual identity that I experienced when I was in Saudi or the US.

'The Saudi-American Portrait'
‘The Saudi-American Portrait’

Fantasy photography

I really love to shoot in studios, because I can mix elements in that environment that you don’t often see together. Many times, the elements are spontaneously grouped together in interesting ways, though often I try to think of ideas that can be beautiful together in a photo.

'Through the Lens'
‘Through the Lens’

Browse more of Kadeeja’s art & photography on her Facebook page: Kadeeja’s Photography