Hi Mous! You studied to become an interior designer in Belgium, but then you discovered the medium of photography and started to pursue a career in that direction. Merging your Moroccan heritage and Western upbringing, you create humorous and visionary images. How do you approach photographing your models? And how do you want people to feel while looking at your works?
The approach isn’t always the same way. It’s a lot how I feel at that moment. Most of my work is created just on the spot and is mostly inspired by surroundings. I mean you can only built op something on a subject or model with what you have. And that’s what I love to do. Because I use a lot of every day things I feel like the people recognise these everyday things that are brought in different daylight. I love a “nostalgia” because it always kind of brings you to an easier time in you life. Even if that time had some struggle in it, people always have a good feeling within nostalgia.
And that’s part of what I want people to feel when they look at my work. I want them to daydream, I want them to have a good feeling. Even sometimes within my work that is more political, I want them to be comforted and have a “there is hope” feeling.
Do you think your relationship with photography is a complicated one or are you in tune with your medium?
Thats a good question, till today I’m always nervous when I start photographing. I don’t know how to get rid of it. I’m very hard on myself and before shooting my insecurities are always there to bring a visit. But I know when it works out well that I receive a satisfaction that nothing els can give me.
I have been working more to try a new path of creative direction, that I can create overviews over a project and even find the right people to execute. Just I truly believe in collaborating and like that I could give back more to the new generation and create more chances for them. (I believe that is one of the big reasons that I was put on this planet… to help out and to give back).
Most of your pictures portray faceless models. How does this intentional obscurity affect how you want your photographs to be read?
I love creating from a perspective that it’s not about one person. The face takes so much information away and doesn’t leave that much to the imagination. I’m specifically talking about my work. I feel when the face doesn’t show, the person who is looking at the image puts their own face in there. And that’s how I experienced how people take the image in many different ways and start having conversations. I learned so much listening to people interpret my work. I have my own interpretation but I feel its the least important one.
In some of your works, such as Smurf Love (2021), Where is the love (2019), and To the Moon and Back (2021), models are dressed in red silky robes, with extravagant hats and big hearts attached to their torsos. Are these works visual expressions of intimacy, or do you aim to open up broader conversations surrounding love and affection?
I love the shape of the heart, it’s something we know from when we are very young. But sometimes I feel like we don’t realise the importance of it. If you carry love with you wherever you go… You will be surprised how many good things will come your direction. I PROMISE you that if you navigate from a big heart, the universe will reward you.
Most of these photos that have hearts within them were always periods that I was a bit sad about what was happening in the world and just for myself I felt in need to create something soothing for myself. Like Kendrick ones said “When will we understand that we were put on earth… to love”. So please, create from the heart, act and react from the heart. We all have more in common than that we have differences, but that’s what we do… we focus on our differences.