Behind the lens

Yumna Al-Arashi: Above and Below

How old are you?


Where are you based?

Between New York City and Los Angeles

How do you make a living?


What camera do you use?

Whatever I can get my hands on

How has travel made an impact on your life?

Meeting new people, seeing new worlds, it makes for an open mind.

What does adventure mean to you?

I love to learn, have fun, and create honestly. I believe my photography reflects each life I live: the political, the cultural and the adventurous. Spontaneity, fun, risk, and growth.

Shot in a desert in Dubai, with another beautiful muse and power woman, @alamiranoor57. I loved this day, this girl is always so down for some of my crazy ideas that at the time seem strange but always end up being magical

Another muse, @justjac, on one of my first days in California. One of those perfect moments where the tide was low and we managed to get this beautiful shot together.

A very dear friend of mine, @annabelgraham, during one of our regular late night swims in her beautiful home. Aside from being an incredibly talented filmmaker and writer, she’s one of my most special underwater muses.

This photo was from one of my first trips into the migrant labor camps in Abu Dhabi. I remember the fear of that day, not knowing what to expect or how these men would react, but I was incredibly relieved to learn how friendly and happy they were to have their photo taken and story told. This day was the beginning of an incredibly important project of mine that was later funded by @VSCO’s #Artist Initiative.

A man smoking hookah in the old souk at dusk. Sana’a, Yemen

A photo from Socotra, Yemen. This was the morning of my 25th birthday. After days of camping without a shower, and a night of being eaten alive by mosquitoes, all I wanted to do was bathe in the ocean when we woke up. I remember taking this photo and being pulled in a strong tide immediately after.

Another rare occasion for a shower in Socotra. This beach had a fresh water supply from the mountains above, creating a water pressure we discovered after setting up camp nearby. Maybe one of the most beautiful showers I’ve taken in my life.

The view of the ancient village above the Haraz Mountains, in Yemen.

Taken in the Haraz Mountains in Northern Yemen, this photo is from a series depicting Yemeni women in a powerful manner. This series began as a commentary on the normal way women in the middle east tend to be portrayed: powerless, weak, and helpless. My goal was to show the reality of how I view these women: powerful, smart and beautiful.