Menna Hossam is a Fine Art and Fashion photographer with a knack of framing fantasy themes and visual storytelling behind every shot. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts back in 2010 and she started off her photography journey during her college years and she managed to develop her skills and build her own identity through the years.
She enjoys creating whimsical pieces of photography that make you wonder whether if they’re real or not. She’s mostly inspired by fairytales, Classical Music, Disney, Baroque and Rococo paintings.
She was featured in Vogue Italy and Identity Magazine, as one of the most talented Egyptian photographers that people should follow on Instagram, celebrated on the USA embassy’s Facebook page for photographing one of the most iconic Egyptologists in America and invited to display her work in international exhibitions.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Travelling, attending a live performance of my favorite band, photographing the things that I love, going to Disneyland and being surrounded by the people I love the most.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
When I was a kid, I used to spend hours in front of cartoons and Disney movies with my sketchbook and draw the characters. I drew all my family members in multiple imaginary green fields surrounded by animals and butterflies. My grandmother had them all hung up on her walls and she was so proud of each one of them.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
Mythology and Renaissance art. Both are extremely rich with characters and stories that make your mind travel to places nobody has ever been to before.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
Ophelia. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare and one of my favorite characters of his is Ophelia from Hamlet. The character’s backstory and depth were intriguing enough for me to consider creating a photo series of her. I spent 2 years looking for someone who can embody the character of Ophelia and who could deliver the feelings that I wanted to represent through the images. I can’t believe how lucky I was to have finally found the model that I kept looking for and even though she wasn’t a professional model, she delivered the look and feel of Ophelia in a way that I’ve never expected. Also, the color palette of the project was one of the hardest palettes I’ve ever created. I tried to achieve a Rembrandt inspired color tones and it took me almost a month to achieve the results that I wanted.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
I think “Dystopia” because lots of people could relate to it. The project tells the story of 2 innocent and pure sisters who seek refuge from the ugliness of the world we live in until they finally realize that there’s no escape from their boundless dystopia so they take shelter in one another and shut themselves off the world.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
Best thing about Egyptian creativity is that it comes from struggles.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
The unlucky one finds bones in tender meat.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
Look for the ones who are authentic and unique.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
Sinai and Aswan.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
The most overused cliche is that we write camels to work.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
Its civilization and its amazing food.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
It’s a discreet relationship between man and whatever he believes in and no one should get in the way of that.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
Money is a tool that helps you achieve some of your demands in life, but it shouldn’t be our sole purpose in life.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
Book: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. The book takes you on a journey of all sorts of opposites in life, Good and evil, Heaven and Hell, Justice and Injustice and quoting Victor Hugo .
“Social problems go beyond frontiers. Humankind’s wounds, those huge sores that litter the world, do not stop at the blue and red lines drawn on maps. Wherever men go in ignorance or despair, wherever women sell themselves for bread, wherever children lack a book to learn from or a warm hearth, Les Misérables knocks at the door and says: “open up, I am here for you”.”
Movie: The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I know some might think of it as only a cartoon movie but I believe the message behind it is so much more than just a Disney movie. To me, the movie left a much bigger impact on me more than the novel because of how brilliant the display of emotions was portrayed in it. The moral of the story is that we shouldn’t judge others by their appearance, people get bullied all the time for their scars, skin diseases or basically any birthday faulty they might have and that’s completely inhumane and unacceptable.
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
Egypt is full of talented females which makes it pretty hard to select only one so I’ll mention a couple of the ones whom I consider my favorites. Bilo Hussein, Kholoud El Mahdy, Nour El Naggar, Henar Sherif, and Amina Zaher.
The photographs used in this article are from Menna’s archive.