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Live music, oh, how we’ve missed you.
The energy from the crowd, the excitement of seeing our favourite bands... Oh to be lucky or fast enough to make it to that perfect spot, right in front of the stage.
As the gig begins, we see photographers making their way to the best seats in the room.
We all envy their profession, the possibility of being there, so close to our idols, to have backstage access, to get those amazing shots.
If you’re a music fan, you probably share the feeling that being there is the dream job.
Well, AmzyOBR agrees, and she is living the dream.
Amran Abd goes by the artistic name of AmzyOBR. The 24 year old London based freelance photographer is taking over the pit.
The subjects she has photographed range from upcoming artists, to big time celebrities such as Doja Cat and Cardi B. Her unique style of photography is under constant recognition.
She is also making a name for herself in the music industry, and it all began with her desire to become a Youtuber.
As a female photographer, she is already a minority in a profession that is mainly dominated by men. As a proud Muslim, she stands out by wearing her Hijab.
“People were coming onto me saying: ‘I’ve never seen a Hijabi female in a pit in my life’. It was crazy. People couldn’t believe it. There were some people that were on stage looking at me and saying: ‘you go, girl’. I am looking around and thinking they were talking to the fans!”
Motivated by the attention received, and by being considered such an inspiration to young creatives, she founded her own platform, Future Culture X, a place where artists can exchange ideas and connect.
AmzyOBR spoke to The Next Cartel about her career, her highlights as a photographer and how art has helped her overcome ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
TNC: Let’s start at the beginning. You grew up in North West London. Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing?
AmzyOBR: My Mum is my biggest inspiration. A single woman who moved to a country where she didn’t even know the language in order to give her nine children a better future.
It is her strength, her drive and her love for those that she cares about that inspire me the most.
My Mum is one of the strongest people I know, and I always evoke her compassion, ambition and ability to overcome struggle into my work. If anything, my background and upbringing has taught me anything is possible if you keep going and to never give up and to fight for what I want.
TNC: Why AmzyOBR? What is behind this name?
AmzyOBR: Amzy is short for my name Amran. Amzy was a nickname given to me from my friends. OBR stands for October.
October 2017 was a tough month for me because I was going through my first ever heartbreak and it took a toll on me.
It was when I took the courage to buy my first camera and just chase my dream. It was a month that broke me and made me if that makes sense.
OBR is sentimental to me and it is what made me the person I am today.
TNC: How did you get your start in Photography?
AmzyOBR: I have always been creative, but I never had the support nor the right people around me because it was uncommon to see a woman from my background and of faith having a creative dream.
However, this never stopped me from being creative, if anything, creativity helped with my ADHD and my therapist always encouraged me to chase my dream. It wasn’t until 2017 when I decided I wanted to be a Youtuber and in a way, you could say photography found me. I was vlogging a concert but at the same time my camera started taking still pictures, and from then on, I knew I wanted to do photography and to capture moments that would last a lifetime. It brought me joy and a sense of purpose.
TNC: How did you get your first pass as a photographer’s pit?
AmzyOBR: I DM’d the promoter of the event and my first ever pass was Cardi B. Shoutout LondonThePlug [tour manager for Cardi B, dejloaf, and other artists] for taking a chance on me. She believed in me.
TNC: From the gigs you photographed, we can see you have a passion for hip hop. What is one photoshoot that has stayed with you?
AmzyOBR: It would have to be when I had met Pop Smoke in 2018 at the Who We Be Spotify Concert. I was taking backstage pictures and I had asked him if he would mind doing his Dior dance for a GIF. He was so kind about doing it and the shots we took were amazing.
I then saw him in Paris, and he had come straight off the carpet just to say hello to me, and it was this crazy moment where out of all the photographers, I was the one he approached and the picture I took of him ended up going viral.
TNC: As a proud Muslim woman, you are a huge inspiration, especially for the Muslim community. What does your faith bring to your work?
AmzyOBR: My faith grounds me. It reminds me to always have hope and it teaches me to be a kind person no matter how cold the industry is. My faith also inspires my determination to make a change because it isn’t enough to just be good, you have to be good and set an example.
TNC: You are also the creator of Future Culture X, a platform that aims to help the creative community share their passions and help each other as artists. How did you came up with Future Culture X and what are your goals with this platform?
AmzyOBR: Future Culture X is a platform for the creatives of today and of the future. It is about bringing all creatives together and creating opportunities for networking, collaborations and so much more. When I was starting out, I never had any creative friends and I had always wished I did. Therefore, by creating this platform, I want to open a world of possibilities and accessibility to those with a dream.
TNC: What do you look for when developing a new project?
AmzyOBR: Capturing moments that will last a lifetime.
TNC: You mentioned in previous interviews that your first experience as a photographer was with a vlogging camera as you wanted to become a Youtuber. You recently started uploading to your Youtube channel. What are your plans for Youtube moving forward?
AmzyOBR: Content and inspiring people! From tutorials to reaction videos, teaching, advice and so much more. I think it’s important to remember that I started out on YouTube.
People knew about my personality before they knew about my photography. Therefore, I am rebuilding my YouTube because I care about the world and the people in it, and I know that one of my biggest aspirations is to be a healer, a role model and to make a difference, like Rosa Parks. She never let anyone stop her and she paved the path for us women.
TNC: Is there anyone out there you would love to work with?
AmzyOBR: I would love to work with Missy Elliott because her creative vision is inspiring and unique.
She is a boss and I aspire to be as big of a boss as she is one day. She pushed through the hurdles of being in a heavily male-dominated industry and made her own noise, her own space and her own power.
TNC: Any teasers regarding your next projects?
AmzyOBR: I would definitely say more creative direction and more community work. I also have a huge announcement coming out on April 19th so make sure to tune into all my socials for all the latest updates about my work.