Digital media is rapidly changing lives of people, influencing the youth all around the world. Providing a platform to showcase their talent and productivity. The new digital media has provided the place where you can live a second life doing what you want pursuing to be the person you always wanted to be. This digital world might be blamed for keeping people in a delusion of having a new life but at the same time it has its positive side, it has explored the creative side our youth has to them about which parents usually fail to recognize. In Pakistan where you are normally supposed to become a doctor or engineer and pursuing your passion related to arts, a subject is something rare, there are only a few people who turn their passion into their profession.
Social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress are the platforms which have a big role in becoming the stage for the youth of Pakistan who has a different side to them besides their normal day life. They are the people who have taken advantage of these social websites and have achieved success through these platforms and build their careers with high paying through their accounts. These websites have pushed the youth to break their boundaries and utilize their creativity. These rising stars showcase their Photography, writings, poetry, paintings and many other creative concepts through the new medium portals.
Here are the 7 Pakistani passionate youngsters who transformed their dreams into reality through the digital media.
Ibrahim Zauq is a 22-year-old young undergrad student of Space Sciences hailing from Peshawar. Who within no time gained popularity over Instagram with his skills of photography and videography. “Four years ago when I was in 11th grade, I had a little idea that I have liked photography and then a friend suggested Instagram to me. The rest is hard work, experiments, self-learning and passion.” Says Ibrahim.
His passion includes travel, film-making, and photography but as the all the youngster of Pakistan Ibrahim is also studying something else, which he thinks is an obstacle “but I am still pursuing my passion and working online.”
Another important thing is his captions which are usual in an unusual way, that compliment his pictures well and shows another side of Ibrahim.
“I have learned many things about photography and videography and I do professional work too which I have learned on my own while working in this field. I have found confidence and skill to compete at different levels and competitions,” claims Ibrahim.
“My family could not understand my passion for film-making and photography so they did not support my choice of pursuing this as my studies and career. Hence I am not where I should have been.”
“My family is not stopping me now from my passion while I am doing it alongside my studies. The appreciation and acknowledgment from friends, fans other people in the society have been very supportive to me.” Zauq Further exclaims.
With 7k followers, Zauq has one of the ruling photography accounts on Instagram.
Khadija Kiran is an arts and craft blogger at WordPress from Islamabad, she also has a Master’s degree in Education along with Post graduate diploma in Textile & Fashion Design. “I think I am good in making things easier to others by explaining. So I tried to polish my teaching skills.” Says Khadija. She started her blog in 2010 by the name Creative Khadija.
“I started a blog for sharing my art but later I realize I should be sharing art tutorials instead. Now it’s been 7 years I am blogging & sharing my crafts tutorials. Luckily, I am Pakistan’s only craft blogger who is sharing art & crafts regularly since 2010.” Says Khadija.
She is one of the professional bloggers of Pakistan, who proved that you can earn while sitting at home. “Blogging was a passion at the start but later it turned into a profession. I started selling my art projects & than tutorials post too. With the passage of time, my blog ranked well in Google. So I was contacted by some good brands to spotlight their shops/ business via my blog & social media networks. This is how I started earning through my blog & business online step by step.” Claims Khadija.
Kiran is one of the risk takers who took the initiative to work online when the platform wasn’t known enough. “Sometimes things work for us in a different way but we realize later. As I am Masters plus B.Ed. but even after A grades, I was unable to find a good job as an art teacher in any school. So I thought to give it a try online. Today I am thankful that I was not able to get any job. Otherwise, this online venture might not be a part of my life.”
Kiran talks about her hardship exclaiming that “Like every other business or job, I too faced a lot of obstacles. But by the grace of Almighty, everything fixed well with time. As a blogger, I was the first ever blogger of my family & in friends’ circle. Nobody was familiar with the word “Blog” even. I can’t ask anyone for help then. I learn each & everything by my own. From blog design to blog SEO, from photography to writing skills etc. 7 years back there was not social media networks influence as much as it is today. Big bloggers never share their tips & tricks with newbies as well. Google was the only helping hand. Besides blogging in online business, I face issues like shipping matters of products, the Payment system for international clients as PayPal is not working in Pakistan yet. And one big thing, there are a very few people in Pakistan who understand the importance of Art. Mostly thinks it’s just an activity to pass some time. Even at the start, my family was not appreciating me at what I am doing but later when they saw me doing great successfully, then they finally appreciate.”
As Khadija talks about opportunities she explains “Alhamdulillah there are a lot of ventures I have successfully done. I am always open for opportunities, my major field is blogging, arts making & selling along with brands marketing through my online influence. But I grab other opportunities on & off as well. I have been working with a British Fashion Designer for a Lehnga design project. I did some fabric painting project for a local brand. I also sold my designs for ceramics printing in the USA. Besides artwork, I am into digital marketing, I had a project with an online marketplace where I spotlighted their store on 50+ Pakistani blogs. I sold my crafts making tutorials to an international magazine too. Besides Pakistani magazines, I have been published & featured internationally in 100+ magazines, E-books,
websites & forums etc. I had a project with Europe’s best crafts network where I was featured as Crafty City Guide from Pakistan.”
“To be very honest, When I started blogging, my family was not appreciating my art, they suggest me to find any day job & better stay busy there instead of sitting in front of computer screen. Even I thought to stop this online venture few times but an appreciation of my wonderful readers worldwide keep me continuing all this successfully.” Says Khadija explaining the hard times of her career.
Fajar Ajmal is an Activist, Motivational Speaker, Social Entrepreneur, Blogger, Poet and founder of Voice Up. She is also a member of Pakistan National Youth Assembly and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She lives in Lahore and studies at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. She is the first Pakistani young female who took the initiative to raise awareness about Transgender and Intersex in Pakistan.
“when I started my work, I started writing articles and requested several magazines to publish them or to consider them. They said that these are very bold topics and no one even knows about intersex and its very inappropriate as it had the word ’sex’ in it, and it’s surprising that you are approaching this subject being a girl, as many people are against it.” Says Fajar.
“When I couldn’t find a proper platform I thought, why not create one for myself. I made a blog and started raising my voice there.” States Fajar.
Talking about her obstacles Fajar explains, “The first obstacle was that people were strictly against it and more repulse was there because I was a girl. The second one was that I had no support. Another reason for no support was that people didn’t know what to do or how to act regarding this topic. There was no support from my family either. And it was hard for people to accept that what I’m saying and if presenting it is actually right. It was hard because it was a new thing, and without any knowledge people only portray and visualize it as negative and ask if one is okay in their senses. I bore all of this for three days and out of nowhere, I clicked this link of 13 incredible geniuses of Pakistan, and my name was there, on the top of the list.”
Talking about her opportunities Fajar states, “With time I got recognition. And then obviously, when I got recognition, the behavior and attitude of people towards me. More ways started to opening up and the hurdles decreased. I had various opportunities to grab. My career started just from writing online. People say the internet has many disadvantages but if one uses it with the right mind and motive, you can touch the sky. My links with so many renown people were built up due to the internet and my struggle by using it. Internet gave me the platform that none did. Many politicians have already approached me that they want to work with me and help me with this initiative.
“The basic criticism that I received was that I was a girl, and girls don’t talk like this or on a topic like this. People think it it’s only trans community and it has nothing to do with sexuality. First, I was using the word, ‘hermaphrodite’ but nobody took it seriously because it was too formal or scientific. Then I choose the word, ‘intersex’ because Pakistani public is much attracted to anything that is related to the word, ‘sex’. As they always consider this word in ‘intimacy sex’ not the gender sex. The clicks started to increase gradually. The first motive was to create awareness, which was unbelievably hard.” Further, explains Ajmal.
“There was no support from my family even when I started to wear hijab, and they thought someone has brainwashed me. So, getting to know that I am writing about such bold topics and raising my voice to create awareness, the support was out of the question. But with the passage of time, my mother started to support me a lot, a lot more than my father.” Says Ajmal.
Hira Nazir is a full-time medical student and a part-time writer from Peshawar, also a blogger and a poet. “I want to be known as someone with a diverse array of passions.” Says Hira.
She loves the sunset, books, pretty socks, stationary, long walks, green tea, empty corridors & early mornings.
“I have written for 14 years till now & have always been secretly wishing to be New York times’ bestseller author. I own a book club; a spoken word organization & I am a part of many writing forums including Dastaan & YWWF. Medicine is my profession & literature (writing) is my passion, I have not yet learned the art of talking about my own self.” Explains Nazir.
“Poetry & Instagram are not connected for me. I have been writing since the age of 7. I joined Instagram around in 2013. However, Instagram proved to be a good platform for having larger viewership & reaching out more people.” States Nazir
She says “Online world is a strange place. It has its pros & cons. Where at one side, the newcomers have to struggle a lot to make an impact, the old ones/already familiar ones are not ready to share the stage & help others & hence so, the element of jealousy & unhealthy
competitive air would increase. Moreover, the mishaps of getting your work & ideas stolen, all copyrights are broken & not being credited enough are also very commonly faced.”
Talking about her opportunities Nazir says “I got many opportunities while being in the virtual world and all of them helped me to improve my skills and polish my abilities. I got to collaborate with so many other writers, be a part of many events, mentor the young coming ones, give fellowship programs, do freelancing & so many other exciting opportunities came my way.”
“Well, criticism for the sake of criticism kills a writer’s creativity, however, healthy criticism always helps you improve your work. There are certain people who would always find ways to bring you down however constructive criticism helps you learn and grow. We just have to get benefit from the good one and have to ignore the bad one. I improved a lot based upon the critique that I received.” talking her experience about criticism Nazir States.
“My family has always been supportive towards my endeavors especially my mom & my sister; both of them have always pushed me so much even though none in my family is remotely related to writing & literature. However, the unconditional support & encouragement that I got from them has always kept me moving. My social circle has been always encouraging including my friends, it is their constant motivation that makes me do bigger things in life!” Claims Nazir.
Shah Zaib Anwar Siddiqui
Shah Zaib Anwar Siddiqui is a Media Sciences student from Karachi, He is an amateur Photographer and an Instagrammer.
“When I was 12, I started using the Internet, I made a Facebook account, it’s my habit to fulfill all the requirements which are needed to make an account, I started checking every option which made me happy. Then I made an Instagram account and started following some random accounts, I saw a lot of good images on Instagram, that’s how it was possible to take all the images. I kept on searching on the Internet and learned from there.” States Anwar.
Explaining his journey of becoming an amateur Photography Shah Zaib says “I have done a short course in photography, then my vision was becoming clearer day by day, When I hear a single word that I don’t know what it means, I spend hours to learn about it from the Internet. From there I thought I should make short videos/films, I started searching where to learn I took the admission in Iqra University, which now I’m a proud media student and want to be a photographer and filmmaker, there are a lot of things that I still don’t know, this process of learning will continue till I die.”
“At first when I started taking pictures nobody liked my pictures, people just come and point out a minor mistake on my images, they don’t look what I have taken in the pictures, but I keep on looking, searching, learning, I became pro at phone photography, then I realized that a phone can’t take you to a professional level, it took me 5 years to save money and buy a high-end camera.” Anwar Further Stated.
“Family always supports me, especially my mom, she believes in me as a good person, that’s enough of I want right now.” Says Anwar.
Saher Touqeer Abbasi
Saher Touqeer Abbasi is a professional Animator and a Photographer from Islamabad. She currently works at Orenda as an animator. She is one of the famous female photographers from Pakistan on Instagram. She Joined Instagram 5 years ago getting inspired from many other female photographers.
“I was fascinated by the fact that you can really make ordinary things look extraordinary through your unique perspective. I didn’t have a camera at that time so I started taking pictures from my phone and started posting them online. The feedback I got was amazing so there has been no stopping ever since.” Says Abbasi.
Talking about her hard times Abbasi says “There are a lot of people out there who will appreciate your work but there also are some who discourage you and make fun of you. There were people who stole my pictures and posted them without any credit or appreciation. That used to be a big disappointment in the beginning but I soon realized that people can steal your pictures but they can’t your brain or ideas. They can never be you or think about things the way you do. So you should keep doing your thing and not care much about negative people.”
Talking about social media and her recognition through Instagram Abbasi states “Social media is a very vast space and really connects you with the rest of the world. I got to work on a lot of animation as well as photography projects for not only local start-ups and businesses but have also worked with a Dubai-based company. I made stop-motion animations for them. They discovered me through Instagram.”
“Alhamdulillah, I feel very lucky to have faced very less negative or destructive criticism. Most of the time people leave very kind comments on my work and that is what really keeps me going. A little kindness goes a long way.” Claims Abbasi.
“My sister and my best friend have been my biggest support and appreciated me throughout. I have always aimed to stay away from negative things and focus more on the positive and as a result, I always got a positive response from almost anyone who has seen my work whether it be family, friends or people who don’t know me in person but follow me on social media.” Further states Saher.
Azeema Ilyas is an amateur photographer from Peshawar, Pakistan. She uses Instagram to showcase her work, as well as is the co-founder of Instagram Community, Peshawar. She is a State Alumna and is studying Defense and Diplomatic Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University.
Talking about the beginning of her journey Azeema Says “I always had a passion for photography. Back when we had reel cameras, my sister, who was pretty self-obsessed would buy reels and ask me to take photos for her. We would use the whole reel clicking away photos in super filmy poses. In 2007 one of my cousins sent us a digital camera, I would take it around all the time and take photos of random silly things. My laptop was full of such photos.”
“In 2011, my father bought us our first DSLR because my sister was taking photography as her minor. After that, I became the official photographer at the family events. In 2013 during my entry tests days, I made an Instagram account to kill boredom. But I would use it to post random photos. I never had the confidence to share my photographs there because, to be honest, every photographer I followed was so good, when I would look at their work I would think about how bad my photography skills are.” Explains Ilyas.
“I befriended Ibrahim Zauq through Instagram, he saw few of the photographs I had taken and encouraged me to start posting my work on Instagram. It started from there. I started clicking more, got to meet all the Instagrammers I was inspired from, learned A LOT from them and improved my photography to the level that today I can confidently say that I am a photographer.” Stated Ilyas.
Talking about her Instagram experience Ilyas says “Through Instagram, I found people who inspired me in many ways and help me become a better human. However, what I dislike the most about online spaces is that how some people think that since you are out there, they have the right to pass judgments on you, mock you or harass you in any way. It is severe in a case when you have a certain standing among people. I get many DMs with people calling me names because I didn’t reply to their comment or accepted their friendship request or have the conversation with them. People think just because someone has a public account, it means they are free and available for everyone and that they owe them something. It gets on my nerves sometimes like nothing and then I just distance myself from Instagram.”
“I got to work on projects with esteemed organizations like Archaeology Department of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa, World Bank Group, Peshawar 2.0, Heritage Foundation of Pakistan. I got to represent Instagram Community Peshawar at the first Art Tech Festival. Instagram basically opened a lot of doors for me.” Claims Ilyas.
“When you are posting your work online, you get people from very diverse backgrounds with very diverse perspective to critique your work and it is what helped me in improving my work. I have faced a lot of criticism with things like someone telling me that they don’t even consider me a photographer. Initially, it broke me but I believe it was important for me to face such harsh criticism because it is what made me who I am today.” Explaining the criticism Says Ilyas.
“My parents especially my mother has always been very supportive of me. Even though I belong to a Pukhtoon family, I did not face the problems that normally girls in Pukhtoon families face. When I took to the streets for photography, my mom was always there by my side, go around the city with me while I clicked photos.” Says Ilyas.
Everything has its pros and cons but the internet is the platform that has provided the place for many youngsters of Pakistan to showcase their talent and prove their identity around the world.
“You can make a building out of hay.”