Local photographer, Adel Essam, just captured Egypt’s (and probably the world’s) only Van Gogh lookalike in a raw and stunning photo shoot.
When freelance and fine arts photographer, Adel Essam, ventured through the streets of Alexandria with his Cairene friends by his side - touring the sights of town - an unusual looking gardener caught the eyes of Essam and his friends.
Wrapped tightly in wool scarves and what seemed like several coats, as if he were in disguise, the gardener stood on the lawns of his garden carrying out his daily plant watering and weeding duties. Despite his subtle attempt to keep hidden from passers-by, the gardener’s sharp and intense facial features stood out from behind the wool that shielded his face from the cold. He could not hide from the heightened curiosity of Essam and his companions. “We all saw him, and we couldn’t believe it; I had to go talk to him,” Essam tells us. Him being the Egyptian gardener who is a spitting image of one of the most influential and iconic artists of all time, Van Gogh.
When Essam first approached 46-year-old, Mousa, and told him that he looked just like the great artist Van Gogh, Mousa showed little interest. When Essam then told him he would like to photograph his unique features, he became apprehensive and said, “Let it be another day so I can be dressed better and then you can photograph me.”
“It was like he was trying to politely decline - he seemed worried. So I did not pressure him and I went home for the day,” recounts Essam. Essam paid Mousa another visit in the garden a few days later where, once again, Mousa attempted to politely decline any photos being taken, but then agreed that it would just be a trial of a few shots. “When he saw the photos and liked them, his friends gathered all around us and were encouraging him to take more photos,” tells Essam, excited. In the span of 15-20 minutes, Essam had captured around 200 photos from different angles and with different expressions.
“I have never come across anyone in my life who abounds in such rich expressions at any given point in the day. He literally radiates warmth through emotion, and at times it’s exactly the same emotion we receive through portraits of Van Gogh,” a mind-boggled Essam tells.
Currently in his final year of studying to be a communications engineer, 24-year-old Essam has been sharing his vision of the world through fine art photography for two years. As a freelancer, he has worked on many personal projects in the past, which have all been artistically directed by him. Essam also collaborates with other photographers on small-scale projects.
Check out the photos below:
Photos: Adel Essam