The CultureHype Collective: Meet Said Abusaud
Said Abusaud is an Arab-American photographer focusing on conceptual portraiture & fashion. The mastermind behind Afterglow Gallery, Abusaud is a visual artist, creative conceptualist, storyteller & published fashion photographer in Dallas.
What is your favorite perk of being in the photography business?
The people. It’ll always be the people that I’ve been blessed to meet since this started back in 2013. I went to a show in Fort Worth at the end of 2014 to see the Burning Hotels perform, & by chance, Taylor Rea AKA ZHORA, was opening for them. At the end of the night, all my friends were talking about the Hotels and here I was still mesmerized by the performance of ZHORA I will always credit her beautiful soul for giving me a chance to collaborate with her, connecting me with incredible musicians/likeminded folks such as LEV, Ronnie Heart, Sudie, NITE& many more.
Surprisingly, no. I’ve always wanted some and if I do ever get some, it would definitely be in Arabic text.
What is your random special talent?
When I was younger, all I ever wanted to be was an actor. The feeling knowing you can get up there on stage & put on a performance to move people brought so much excitement in my life. It was when I watched Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time that I realized I could mimic people.
What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas?
I was born & raised in Dallas. Seeing its growth over the years, especially in the art scene, has definitely been moving.
If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?
Intelligent. Controversial. Raw
When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?
David Bowie, The Smiths, Prince & Lenny Kravitz are the biggest inspirations in my life. The visual presentation & reinvention of these musicians, that has spanned over five decades, gives me plenty of material to get inspiration from.
How did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
I had just finished a long stint in the acting world. I had no idea what life my direction was going in. I knew I had the talent, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I remember seeing an ad from Best Buy offering a camera kit for $500. I had no idea how to use a camera but thought it would be cool to try it out. After practicing and studying, I decided to offer my services to people and an old friend from my past, Ashlee Gonzalez, reached out to me to work on a conceptual shoot. She’s been my art wife & makeup gal since day one. Amy Bellinger, my assistant tech has also been there as well from day one to help create the scenes & visuals. My pride & joy are my members-only team of the most talented artists in DFW including: Gezebel Alicea, Amanda Archey, Megan Visitacion, Ekaterina Kouznetsova, Zach Bush, Carine Rice, Kenneth Smith, Logan Neumann, Jacqueline Prieto & more. This is how Afterglow Gallery was created & without them, it would have never existed.
What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?
To constantly always be learning & leave people with questions. I always get people ask me “What does your work mean to you? What are you trying to say?” Art, to me, is a question. It should never have an answer. I also want to do work for Harper’s Bazaar for a little bit, travel the Middle East with my cameras to show the United States the beauty of the Middle Eastern culture (specifically that not all Arabs are terrorists) & for my team (Afterglow Gallery) to achieve their dreams.
If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?
David Bowie’s 2013 release “The Next Day” The whole album is a stunning, resonant piece of expression. I listen to it daily.
Who is your fashion icon?
Audrey Hepburn. For those that know my work, she's everything to me.