Murad Osmann describes it as not just his favourite hobby. And while the first shot may have been the kiss of fate, what has followed can only be described as a true viral sensation. Following his wife, Natalia, around the world, the stars of the ‘Follow Me To’ sensation have built on it to include a travel website, books and even a jewellery brand that only uses conflict free diamonds. Sharon Carvalho speaks to the photographer about the concept
How did it begin?
It began in Barcelona in October 2012, during my first trip with Natalia. I was taking photos all the time and all Natalia wanted to do was see everything in city. There was a moment when I wanted to take a shot, she grabbed my arm and stepped forward. I happened to capture the moment and we liked the final shot and the idea so much that we posted it on Instagram with a hashtag we created. And we haven’t stopped since.
How much research goes into creating one final shot?
A good shot is a mix of being well prepared and being spontaneous. We are always looking for costumes and unusual locations. As for the picture, it depends on the situation and weather conditions. For instance, when we took the photo at the Taj Mahal, it was very hard to get the shot. We got up very early in the morning but even at 5am the place was full of tourists. So sometimes we have only five minutes to get the shot and sometimes we come back to a place for a few days.
How do you decide where to shoot?
We want to show beautiful cultures and traditions of different countries, so the place should have a rich history or reflect the nation’s spirit. We prepare the route before the trip begins, but, as always, plans can always change. We also talk to the locals as they can advise us on the best places to shoot.
How important are the fashion/accessory/hair and makeup choices when putting the shot together?
It is always Natalia’s inspiration as she has an incredible sense of style. We also communicate with local designers during our trips. This is important because it isn’t just the place we are shooting at that shows the local culture and tradition, the clothes and accessories add to it too.
Is fashion photography, specifically street style photography, an avenue that interests you?
I take pictures only of my wife, but we have fashion stories that go with the shots we take. We have collaborated with fashion brands such as Bochic and Macy’s. Our first fashion work was a few years ago with Michael Kors when we participated in their ‘Watch Hunger Stop’ campaign. For us, if we have the same vision with the brand, it is always a pleasure to do something big with them.
What was your favourite part about shooting in the UAE?
Based on my education, I am a civil engineer. So I love looking for interesting, modern buildings. I believe they are an art form too. So, when we were in Abu Dhabi, we had a great time shooting in front of the Aldar Headquarters. It was amazing to see such a tall circular building.
What is the goal of the concept?
We want to tell people as much as we can about the beautiful world around them. We want to prove that our planet does not have borders and any dream can come true, if you really want it. The ‘Follow Me To’ series is a mix of fairy tale, inspiration, romance and adventure.