Apple's iPhone 6 hashtag leads to job-offers for Dubai Filipina


Dubai-based Filipino expat Debbie Fortes says she is now chasing her dream after a picture that she clicked with her iPhone 6 was selected by Apple for its global ad campaign.

Apple launched the global #ShotOniPhone6 campaign in March this year. “People take incredible photos and videos on iPhone 6 every day,” Apple says, sharing the images of 77 photographers from 70 cities and 24 countries.

Debbie is one of them, and her breath-taking shot of the Liwa desert is now being to be featured in magazines, newspapers, billboards, transit posters and more.

“The image has now gone live in 70 cities in 25 countries, in subways, airports, major highways and magazines,” she tells Emirates 24|7.

An avid photographer, Debbie says she’s now chasing her dream as interest in her work has grown thanks to the Apple campaign.

“I was offered to become a full-time professional photographer. I am now chasing my dream and making it happen,” Debbie says when asked if there had been any additional interest in her professional work after the Apple campaign.

The 37-year-old Debbie has been based in Dubai for almost five years now, but discovered her love of photography while she was still a teenager.

She began pursuing her passion with photography when she bought her first instamatic camera, but had to sell it off due to a financial problem in the family. At that time, financial woes forced her to drop out of college and join the workforce.

She moved to Dubai in December of 2010 at the age of 32, hoping to find a better job to support her family. This is where she found time and some resources to further fuel her passion.

“I have been an Instagrammer for three years now,” she tells this website.

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing app, and the firm says it suggests “a variety of talented Instagrammers to follow from around the globe”.

Debbie was added to that list last year, and today a host of followers can see her work online. “I became an Instagram Suggested User last October 2014. Currently, I have 54.9K followers. I am one of the social influencers here in Dubai,” she maintains.

The now-famous picture of a man walking through sand dunes of the Empty Quarters (Rub'al Khali) was shot earlier this year in March, says Debbie, during an exploration with Project Quinary and Instagrammers Dubai.

“They [Apple] found me through the hashtag #shotoniphone6 on Instagram,” she says, adding that she became a fan of the Apple campaign from the moment it was launched.

“I think the campaign is very effective. It is simple but the engagement from people is massive,” says Debbie.

“I mostly use my iPhone6 for the photos that I post on Instagram, so I hashtag them a lot. That is how it all started. I received an email around April of this year. They were interested in two of my photos. But they only picked the one in Liwa desert,” she says.

Debbie maintains that she never imagined the picture to gain the popularity it has at the time she was clicking the shot.

“It never crossed my mind,” she says. “For me, I just want to capture and share the beauty that I have witnessed to my followers on Instagram. I like exploring the country that I am in,” she adds.

“The UAE’s landscape is hands-down world-class. That particular shot was taken during an early morning photo-walk. I believe a photo’s temperature, light and shadows can truly contribute a lot to what kind of story and mood you would like to convey to your viewers,” she says, adding that visiting Liwa was like a dream-come-true.

“I longed to go to Liwa (Rub'al Khali/Empty Quarter) ever since I saw it on the Internet. Going to Liwa was a dream-come-true. I truly admire the beauty of its untouched sands. I just ticked one destination off of my bucket list,” she says.

“There is no doubt that Liwa and its golden crystal-like sands caught the attention of Apple and they decided to include it in their award-winning campaign,” she says, adding that “there are still places in the UAE that haven’t been explored; hence my personal hashtag #SecretPlacesInUAE.”


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