I think we liked each other’s work. That’s how it all started. Then a mutual friend went to do a do session with him. Mustafa and I got in touch, and we talked for hours, about everything but photography or reporting. We promised we’d meet, because he wanted to take some shots of me. I heard in his voice warmth and attraction, values certainly dear to me. In the end it took us 3 years before we met. My job takes me to trust rarely to have photographs taken by someone who can distort my persona. Putting art, skin, imperfection that actually makes a human perfect.
That abstract game with mythology, the dream, the Creation, the magic and the association. The ideas that become, in the blink of an eye, a perfectly constructed reality. His pictures have graced the covers o the most famous and renowned magazines worldwide. He certainly didn’t need to photograph me. His work bursts with sensual energy, novelty, rareness. He is interested in man, woman, beauty, art, war, the intelligence, the rhythm, the water. That’s at least what I could gather form spending one afternoon with him.
I met him in his studio in Modena with his friend Simone, and it was like we had known each other for years. You feel it from the first hug. You see it in the first look in the eye. By the end of the session, I would not have wanted to leave, but we are accustomed to abandonment.
We opened each other and respected one another. These photos are not classic for me. But he is an artist, and how often do we have the luck to be under the lens of a true artist?
I’m glad that I have been photographed by him, I’m glad we embraced. I’m glad I stared into the eyes of an artist. I am grateful for what he taught me and for the courage, perhaps without knowing it, he helped me find. Musty, my friend, I cannot wait to take a trip with you, do a reportage with you, have a dinner with you.
Here’s his website: http://www.mustafasabbagh.com
And here’s a short biography:
Mustafa Sabbagh was born in Amman (Jordan). Italo-Palestinian, raised between Europe and the Middle East, the imprinting is cosmopolitan attitude is nomadic. When, at age 6, he discovers a drawer in an old Polaroid, is for the first time in contact with the love of a lifetime: one for photography.
He moved to Italy for a degree in Architecture at the University of Venice; from there the immediate move to London where he trained as an assistant to a Master of Photography as Richard Avedon. It dates back to his London years collaboration with the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, talent pool which – among others – Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.
Back in Italy, Ferrara elected as the port to which to return from his frequent travels around the world – as a teacher in workshops dedicated to the photographic medium, and shootings published in magazines such as Arena, The Face, Italian Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Rodeo, Kult, Sport & Street.
From nomadic cosmopolitan, Sabbagh is intolerant to a flattening of the mainstream fashion model photo, preferring a kind of counter-aesthetic standard, recognized today as his stylistic, halfway between fashion and art, where the punctum is the skin, veins, masks freak majestically, the multidimensionality of black and light, visionary styling by himself edited and transferred to the seabed bruising, ovals as cameos in diptychs and translate that form into context, all interpreted through the absolute subversion of codes of dress and gender.
Aesthetic of discomfort, hidden desires disguised as nightmares; harmony of imperfection – investigated through the medium of photography, as well as through video art, which also goes for the production of short films, advertising campaigns and music videos – that Sabbagh moves naturally from coated paper to the white cube of the gallery’s most important world, often placing in dialogue with the masters of the past – such as Boldini, Zurbarán and Matisse – as depositary of a continuum, or an anti-continuum, aesthetic and congenital.
Often the protagonist of interviews and documentaries that explore the work, personality and stylistic figures, in 2013 Sky Arts HD, through the series Photographers – devoting an episode to its premiere at the Madre Museum in Naples – elected him between 8 artists significant contemporary national scene. To date, Mustafa Sabbagh is recognized as one of the 100 most influential photographers in the world, and one of 40 nude portrait – one Italian – among the most important on an international scale.
His works are included in many permanent collections in Italy and abroad.
“Every ride is a shot eyes, a world.”