Noha by Malak

@incognito.xl by @malakelsawi

This shoot is really important to me because it made me realise the kind of work I want to continue to make.  I was inspired by the Egyptian cultural tradition of buying new clothes on the first day of  islamic holiday: Eid. I shot it at the Giza Zoo because that's a place where people would hang out and I thought it would be an interesting place to shoot. 

I wanted to prove that embracing our culture and seeing it for its own beauty is so much stronger than constantly trying to look like something we're not. The fashion industry in Egypt tends to shy away from representing our culture; idealising the west's and demonising our own in fear of seeming 'tacky' or 'cheap. Which is sad especially seeing as Arabic representation in fashion is highly orientalist and tokenised - if at all present. 

Noha and I had a lot of fun shooting this even though we had two outfits, no permissions and had to change in the bathrooms - which were very unhygienic to say the least lol :) Cairo traffic only allowed us two hours to shoot and it worked out for the best. We got there when the sun was setting and followed pockets of magic hour sun seeping in through the trees. 

The funniest part of the day was when we saw a man letting an elephant out to walk it to another area of the Zoo. I was like "NOHA RUN!"...And we ran after the elephant to get a shot! Noha got scolded by the man and I almost got run over by the elephant. We didn't get the shot but oh how we laughed!