Growing up during the Lebanese Civil War, Ali Elhajj lived an eventful life before coming to the United States. Since arriving here, he’s lived in states as far flung as Michigan, Hawaii, and Florida, where he’s remained since 2000. Fluent in both English and Arabic, Elhajj has done everything from photography to running a nonprofit organization to grad student marine mammal research to software programming. These diverse endeavors have helped shape who he is, what he photographs, and how he shoots his images.
While living in Hawaii as a college student, his mother gave him a Canon Digital Rebel. “I could see I had an eye, but I could tell I was far away from being a good photographer,” he recalls. This was the beginning of his career as a photographer. Being a writer of software, he’s very technical, but photography gives him “the opportunity to be both technical and artistic at the same time,” he feels.