Flower-adorned backgrounds that seem to create a fairytale-like atmosphere, vintage feels and fantasy-like worlds are what make up 32-year-old Menna Hossam’s magical online photoshoots.
The young Fine Art and Fashion photographer has been working professionally for about nine years, having gained both experience and a large following. Her uniquely devised shoots are what seem to have caused her to stand out amongst her peers, as well as the fact that there are not many Egyptian photographers who specialize in fine art photography – at least not quite in the expressive way Hossam does.
“Photography helps me capture fragments of my imagination. I’m not the best person to express her feelings, so photography helps massively in translating how I usually feel,” explains Hossam as to why she got into the profession in the first place, “Photography also taught me to see the world differently and appreciate the small things.”
Ever since the pandemic hit however, like many artists across various fields, Hossam’s work – which relies very much on physical presence – was greatly affected. “I believe the pandemic has massively affected all of us,” she says.
“I’ve only had one shoot since the end of February and I’ve been feeling pretty demotivated and sad almost all the time,” Hossam continues. She was determined however, to make the most of her time during lockdown in any way she could.
Hossam immediately thought of the idea of conducting online shoots. “After the lockdown, I started approaching several models from all around the world asking them if they’d be interested to collaborate on some FaceTime or Skype shoots with me,” she says.
After a few rejections, as well as a bunch of excited replies eager to collaborate, Hossam ventured into the arduous – and very different – process of conducting these online shoots.
“So the way it works is that I start by creating a simple mood board to share with the model to help her understand my vision for the shoot,” explains Hossam, “This board contains references of the general mood of the shoot, poses, outfit ideas, locations..etc. and after agreeing on all the details, we set a date and time for our shoot.”
“The model then sets her phone on a tripod and I guide her throughout the call,” Hossam continues, “I then take the images to Photoshop and I start editing them (which is not easy at all considering the low quality of the images) but it’s still better than sitting around and doing nothing.”
Although rather unorthodox in its photographic process, it is perhaps the beauty of the idea and composition itself that seem to stand out the most when it comes to the wonderful results of these shoots.
Yes being a female photographer in Egypt in and of itself comes with its challenges, currently topped off with facing a global pandemic as well… however, evident through her passion-driven work, it seems as though Hossam wouldn’t have it any other way. The young photographer also has plans to further develop her future career.
“I hope I can travel the world and have shoots everywhere I go,” she says, “I also wish to go global and start giving workshops around Africa and Europe.”