Sarah Siblini’s path to finding her passion is as convoluted as one can get. A French-educated Lebanese-Canadian with a love for science and armed with a degree in microbiology, she began her career attending surgeries in the ER. This took a left turn when a planned 3-month sabbatical in South America turned into a year-long stay as a dive master in Honduras. When family life brought her back to Abu Dhabi, she moved into the corporate world and eventually transitioned into a full-time mother after the birth of her first child.
So, how did you end up starting your business?
After having my daughter, nothing felt more natural than to segue into photography. Like every other mom, I started taking photos of her and her little friends, and It wasn’t until after I took a particularly great series of photos of my friend’s son did the overwhelming support from friends and family push me to self-start. I didn’t mean for it to become a career, but my desire to capture her on film pushed me to take classes and absorb everything I could about the art.
What was your most rewarding moment?
This is going to sound cheesy, but every shoot I go on gives me the warm fuzzies I feel when with my own children. I love meeting kids and families, watching the dynamics and translating it into print. One of my favorite jobs was a hospital visit and capturing the first hours of a newborn’s life – being with the parents as they experience that initial rush of emotion really resonated with me.
What was your most challenging moment?
Funnily enough, the “10 Tips on Photographing Your Child” talk that you guys hosted at the BodyTree was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I’m naturally reserved and prefer to be behind the camera instead of in the spotlight, so preparing and delivering a small lecture to an audience put me completely out of my element. I did enjoy it and the feedback was great, so it will be something I continue and hope it gets easier.
If we invested AED 1 million into your company, how would you spend it?
I would love to launch a learning center aimed at teaching kids about photography, and would double as a meeting place for the visual arts. Aside from that, I am looking at upgrading my own equipment to take on the challenge of underwater photography. There’s something about kids and water that is just magical.
What would you love to learn?
[Laughs] I’m a perpetual student! Along with my continuing education in photography, lately I’ve been immersed in child psychology. I have been reading lots of books on the topic and attending a great series of parenting workshops put on by the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation with speakers from the Yale centers for Child Study and Emotional Intelligence.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Generally, anything that brings me peace. In my work/life balance, attending yoga classes at BodyTree have provided some much needed “me” time in such a life-enriching way. Nature, being outdoors and particularly the beaches on Saadiyat are a constant draw; being in nature with the open water feels like a get away and is such a relief from the busy city.