Huda Bin Redha is an Emirati lawyer based in Dubai. Although photography might not be her profession, her keen eye has caught the attention of a large and growing audience on Instagram. Her work frames architecture and landscape in a striking and original light, and her use of aerial images captures something soulful about the cities and deserts that surround her. DJI reached out to get her thoughts on drones and photography. What follows is our interview, lightly edited for clarity and concision.
How did you came to use drones?
Ten years ago, when I heard the word drone, I thought of military drones and the bad things they caused. But now, commercial drones are common and changed the way I think. I decided to buy a drone after seeing aerial photos on Instagram. It inspired me to show my city from a different perspective. I started seeing it as an artistic tool when I started flying it myself and experienced the beauty of things from a drone’s view.
Were you born and raised in the UAE, or did you come there later in life?
Yes, I’m an Emirati. Born and raised in Dubai. The UAE is home to more than 7 million people from 200 nationalities. I've had the chance to meet and befriend people from many different backgrounds. Their stories taught me many things and made me grow as a person and as an artist.
What are some assumptions people have about your city?
There are two extremes when it comes to assumptions: One, that we live in a desert and we’re underdeveloped. Two: that we live in a place that is new and everything is imported. That we live in a jungle of glass and steel with nothing but glittery hotels and shopping malls. There is much more to the UAE than the glitzy buildings. That’s what I try to do with my photos. I try to show the diversity of this magnificent country.
Are there any particular challenges to flying and capturing images in Dubai?
You need to be licesned, and I have done that. There are also green zones where you can fly and red zones where you cannot. Red zones are near airports or government buildings, things like that. I also try to fly around sunset, when it is cooler. You should come visit Dubai, but come during our winter, it is like your summer. During the day in the summer, it can get to be 50 degrees Celcius, so 122 degrees Farenheit. That can cause issues with the drones, so I try to avoid flying during the hottest part of the day.
What are your favorite neighborhoods and venues in your city?
I like downtown Dubai and the Jumeirah beach residences because of the beautiful buildings. You can see that Dubai is an architect’s playground. I love capturing that innovative design. I also like the Al Fahidi district. I love going back to our roots and remembering how far we’ve come, from a small fishing and trade village to the cosmopolitan metropolis that we are today. And of course the natural landscape around us. From the pure red sand of the desert, to the tranquil beaches, to the rocky mountains, the locations are my escape from city life.
Are there many other women in your area using drones?
I’m sure there several female drone operators, I just don’t know many. I often get mistaken for a man online because I don’t post pictures of myself. Maybe it’s because photography might be considered male-dominated. But when big accounts like DJI recognize that females also create great content and share it with the rest of the world, I believe that this will positively change the gender roles and encourage more females to get out there and create.