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The Gypsy I Have Met

Super photographer Samo Rera is back with another striking series, and even more enchanting story.

A few months ago, photographer Samo Rera was travelling through Sinai when he happened upon a young Cairene girl who had abandoned the city in exchange for a nomadic existence on the shores of a camp. Visually enraptured by her, he proceeded to spend the rest of his trip capturing the girl in her element eventually producing a stunning photoseries Daughter Of A Genie, which spread across the internet like wildfire – that girl with those eyes. Now, the wandering photographer has released a new set of photos, again of a subject he met on his travels throughout the country.

This series of shots, entitled The Gypsy I Have Met, when traced back, were actually inspired by a late professor. While shooting a project in Nuba, in awe of the location and in the middle delving into the teachings of Sufism, Rero decided to extend his trip in the area for some self-exploration. After running into endless travellers on similar journeys, his attention was captured by one in particular. “There was this gypsy that attracted me the most; Menna. She was on a self-journey too with a backpack roaming the Egyptian Oasis and her final stop was Nuba.”

After they returned to Cairo, he delved more into her life. “She is a jewellery designer and obsessed by art in general…she took me to a journey into her world of silver and precious stones in the authentic Khan el Khalili.” The gypsy jeweller let Rero in on her latest collection, one which was dedicated and inspired by her late professor and role model, Radwa Ashour. “I did not know who Radwa Ashour was,” Rero says. So Menna elaborated. “Radwa Ashour is my professor since I was an undergrad. She was the first person to open my eyes to the true meaning of ideological imperialism and build my own perspective of life.  While doing my masters last year, I was lucky enough to take with her Comparative Literature course and get introduced to her small inspiring family. When she died on November 30th, it broke my heart and I decided to commemorate her and dedicate my 8th collection to her, so people who do not know her would be blessed at least to know a little about her and start their journey of discovering her.”

Inspired by the inspiration Rero read Ashour’s autobiography and instantly decided he wanted to be involved in the project – a project where Menna decided to personally model the collection herself so she could do justice to the woman who had been the driving force behind creating it. “Menna decided to model for the first time her own collection as this collection is close to her heart and she found it hard that anyone can embody Radwa Ashour’s characters as she wanted,” Rero explains.

The result are a series of beautiful shots, taken between Nuba and Cairo. Entirely different from Rero’s first project, these pictures, faded and with a vintage vibe, are all rustic and Arabian gypsy. They showcase the eclectic pieces from Menna’s collection, and highlight beautiful architecture and landscapes in Egypt. 

You can take a look at the making of this shoot below.
You can check out Samo Rera's Facebook page here or Menna Khalil's page here