Ihsan Salhia – Film Director & Producer from Dubai also known as TG
His name is Ihsan Salhia and he is known as TG (The Guy). Growing up in New Jersey he has always owned a camera. he’d load his roll of film and start spinning until the roll is in and then he’d shoot. But things were about to change. He purchased his first digital camera. A Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P71, a full 3.2-megapixel camera that was smaller than the palm of his hands. Anxious and excited; he took it to the top of Garret Mountain and began shooting. Being able to capture an image and see it instantly on the back end of the camera made me fall in love with photography all over again. Carrying this little camera around with me everywhere he went, he began to notice that most of his photos were leaning towards the landscapes near his home.
After years of shooting and the explosion of Social Media, he became determined to make photography his life. He set out a one-year goal to make this happen. He worked really hard trying to figure a way to leave his job and have the field of photography to be his main source of income. Today he is happy to say that he is a full-time Photographer and Creative Director pushing the limits with other creatives.
Here is Ihsan Salhia in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) How did your journey begin?
My journey begins with the love of capturing landscapes and cityscapes, when I was young, I used to take my Kodak roll film and my small Kodak camera. It’s to capture the city from the top of the mountain. My journey took off from their because my love grew stronger.
2) Who has been your inspiration?
I am always inspired by creative people in general, people that wakes up early and always have something great to do and those who are passionate about what they are doing.
3) Tell us about your very first photography project.
My very first project was when I had a project that put together as a hobby were, I wanted to do macro photography. I was very young and wanted to capture and see what it looks and feels like to be a small as a bee. I would take my camera with my macro lens and shoot the little tiny insects to see how they live inside the flowers.
4) Why are you known as TG (The Guy); Any story behind it?
The story behind “The Guy” originated with the guy from Dubai, but I am not from Dubai. I grew up in the US, and in my country, if they needed help with something, they will direct with someone who has the capability of it. When I came to Dubai people would direct each other towards me to help with certain things that I had knowledge of, saying: “go ask the guy from Dubai” and that is because I am dealing with a lot of people from the West and people that knew me. I took the name and turned it into TG from Dubai because the guy from Dubai was too long and turned it to “TG” as the guy.
5) How difficult was it to make photography as your main source of income?
I’ve always wanted to make photography my main source of income and I’ve always gone in and out of it, but it is very difficult to do. However, when I combined photography with another love that I have which is filmmaking, shooting videos and creating content, I was able to put together a plan that will allow me to survive and live on that income and grew to something bigger and we now have a company called “TG Media Productions” which employs wonderful employees who work with us and this is how we managed to do it.
6) Which has been your most memorable project?
My most memorable project is the project that took place in Atlantis which was called The KISS Project. This was where we had the band KISS from the US come down performing a Guinness record performance on the largest stage ever built during the pandemic in the Middle East and this was during the New Years of 2021 at Atlantis. This was a very large production and we were so happy to be part of the project and this was something that we love doing.
7) How and when did you build your own production house?
It took a while to build a Production House but after working really hard and making a plan together we manage to make it happen. It took a lot of planning, patience, trial and error but in the end, we manage to work it.
8) What are your upcoming projects?
Some of the upcoming projects that we have that are really exciting are with various brands around the UAE, some of them are documentaries. We have a documentary that we are shooting for Sony that is really nice and supposed to be aired worldwide. There are a few other projects that we are working on but we are looking to break in to the filming world and start filming short films and documentaries.
9) What advice would you give to the aspiring photographers?
Never give up and always plan. If you make a plan for everything, you’re trying to do push really hard towards it and as long as you set a short-term goal you will definitely reach your goals.
10) How was life in quarantine?
Life in quarantine was not as bad for me, it was difficult financially but not as bad when it came to quarantine because I used that time wisely to educate myself on areas of weakness that I had and I work hard to build my company from the inside out.