What happens when you combine a surreal photographer with a wicked designer, make up artist, model and fashion institution intent on creating unique pieces? Magic; only magic.
When it comes to photography and fashion, we can't honestly say we've actually seen much that's completely floored us to the point of non-speech. Sure, there were some nice designers and projects that have come our way from time to time, but a lot of it just seemed generic… until now. We were pretty curious when we discovered that Cairo-born photographer Bassam Allam had collaborated with quirky designer Mohanad Kojak as part of his workshop with The Fashion Studio. Both are pretty acclaimed and unique in their respective fields, so joining forces with model Salma Abu Deif and make-up artist Kiki Ismail, the final product was bound to be a mesmerising – boy, were we right.‘‘This collaboration was solely inspired by Kojak's designs. I wanted to demonstrate to the students of my workshop how to produce quality pictures by integrating a given design in a limited environment (location). I matched elements from his designs – such as patterns, colours, and silhouettes – with the same elements present in my surroundings,’’ says Allam, who is a fine artist, surrealist, and fashion photographer living in Munich.
Known for his grandiose, surreal style, Allam’s work makes you feel as if living in a world of dreams and fantasy. The 28-year-old has been working on mystery theatre, a spectacular ongoing project through which he directs surreal visions of the world by twisting imagery and creating juxtapositions of body and objects in the aim of ‘challenging the human perception of reality’ His interest in fashion grew in the past few years as he started collaborating with designers, as we see here; now his work focuses on "the integration of the designs as part of a visually appealing/iconic photograph."You might be wondering how this fits with Kojak, but make no mistake that his pieces are an elegant highlight in the photo shoot; delicate designs and regal materials add a flair to the collaboration. Through the fashion, the viewer can get a visual taste of a world of pure enchantment that reminds us of a dark fairytale stuck in time.
"Each person will react differently; I can just hope for the pictures to be striking and captivating,’’ asserts Allam.
The talented photographer knows he has a different style – "cinematic, surreal, and iconic," he calls it – but you don't need to hear it from him; it only takes a pair of eyes to see that his work goes against the mainstream. Moreover, he explains that beyond fashion and photography, the collaboration was a real asset in showing what it means to create a third reality when combining two artists."The aim is to give the students an inside look at a collaboration with great artists. That way they have the chance to ask about everything that I spent years learning, while I can demonstrate the theoretical techniques explained during the lectures of the workshop,’’ he explains.
Now we’re feeling our alter egos sulk in the abyss of jealousy – we can't help but wish we got the opportunity to be featured in his beautiful shoots. Quite active, Allam lets us know that it’s a very exciting time for him right now. ‘‘I am currently working on producing a new series for two upcoming exhibitions in Munich, and also organising my first exhibition in Egypt. At the same time, I am planning a few fashion editorials that will go under my new fashion project I WAS SHOT! Fingers crossed,’’ he shares.