Experiential Learning & Co-op   |   Featured Students

For the love of the game

Nabila Abul­ja­dayel

This summer Nabila Abul­ja­dayel, AMD’16, had the oppor­tu­nity to meld two of her life’s greatest pas­sions: pho­tog­raphy and Spanish soccer jug­ger­naut Real Madrid.

And it’s an expe­ri­ence she will truly never forget. “It was a dream come true,” Abul­ja­dayel said. “It really showed me any­thing is pos­sible. A few weeks before I saw press pho­tog­ra­phers on the pitch at the World Cup, and then I was doing the same thing.”

When Abul­ja­dayel found out Real Madrid would be par­tic­i­pating in the Guin­ness Inter­na­tional Cham­pions Cup—a friendly soccer com­pe­ti­tion fea­turing sev­eral Euro­pean club teams and held in the sev­eral U.S. cities this summer from July 24 to Aug. 4—she pledged she would see the team play and cap­ture the action with her camera.

She got press cre­den­tials as a pho­tog­ra­pher for The Hunt­ington News, Northeastern’s student-​​run paper, and with that came a field-​​level view of Real Madrid’s match against Man­chester United at the Uni­ver­sity of Michigan’s foot­ball sta­dium on Aug. 2. The atten­dance, 109,318 strong, was the highest for any soccer game ever played in America.


Photo by Nabila Abuljadayel

“I couldn’t even take photos because I wanted to watch the game and every­thing that was going on around me,” said Abul­ja­dayel, who has been a staunch sup­porter of Real Madrid ever since she saw starting goalie Iker Casillas play for his native Spain in the 2002 World Cup.

The Saudi Arabia native’s love of pho­tog­raphy in gen­eral, and sports pho­tog­raphy in par­tic­ular, has also devel­oped during her time at North­eastern, where she is pur­suing a degree in dig­ital arts with a con­cen­tra­tion in ani­ma­tion in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design. Growing up, Abul­ja­dayel said she always had a camera with her, but never thought of taking up pho­tog­raphy as a pro­fes­sion until she took a class taught by asso­ciate aca­d­emic spe­cialist Andrea Raynor.

“She is very nice and really gets involved in your work,” Abul­ja­dayel said. “And she always finds the good in a bad photo. If I do 10 things wrong with a photo, she’ll point out the one thing I did well.”

Sports, Abul­ja­dayel said, is her favorite sub­ject to shoot because of the action and the on-​​field strug­gles that invari­ably unfold between the com­peti­tors. While she enjoys pho­tographing still life such as scenery and land­scape, Abul­ja­dayel said cap­turing the dynamic moments and the his­tor­ical con­text of sports really res­onates with those who see her photos.

“Sports can be dif­fi­cult to shoot,” Abul­ja­dayel noted. “But the sub­ject is very inter­esting. It talks to you. I’m doing what I love.”

And because she does not have the same equip­ment as tra­di­tional sports pho­tog­ra­phers, she has to train her eye to find other kinds of shots.

“I just love the art of [soccer],” Abul­ja­dayel said. “I look for the images that most sports pho­tog­ra­phers really wouldn’t look for. I always try to see what I can do dif­fer­ently with my equipment.”

Read the original story at news@Northeastern →

View more of Abul­ja­dayel’s work in this gallery from a match between Real Madrid and AC Milan:

Real Madrid vs. AC Milan by Nabila Abul­ja­dayel

Dubai, December 30, 2014