Hi friends, Bella here! Today I'd like to introduce you to a very special artist. I first came across Menna's work in our Facebook group and I was drawn to her aesthetic and creative approach. She's a Canon EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) Ambassador, creator of beautiful fashion, beauty, and fairytale images, and she's just published her first book!
So let's dive in and get to know more about Menna and what inspires her creativity!
Hi Menna, tell me about yourself and your background, what do you love to do and how did you get started?
I'm a Fine Art and Fashion photographer based in Cairo, Egypt, with a passion for capturing compelling stories through my lens. I've been immersed in the world of photography for the past 14 years, and my journey began during my college years. I graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts and my academic background played a pivotal role in shaping my approach to photography. Studying Renaissance artists exposed me to the intricate play of colors and composition, influencing my artistic character. It was during this time that I discovered my love for storytelling through images. The idea of conveying narratives and emotions through visual art resonated with me deeply.
My initial foray into photography involved capturing portraits of my colleagues. I was drawn to individuals who stood out, believing that each person held a unique story waiting to be told through my photographs. While I initially explored various genres of photography, I eventually found my calling in portraits and storytelling.
Model: @layrix / Dress/headpiece: @narnia_dress
I’d say it’s a blend of Disney-inspired magic and mythological influences. My work consistently weaves enchanting narratives, employing vibrant colors and whimsical compositions to create a distinct and immersive visual experience.
Your photography has a very distinct, recognizable style. How would you describe your aesthetic?
Model: @hadir_nached / Stylist: @sarabahaa1 / Makeup: @makeupby_daliadarwish / Hair: @dafayer @badgalwada / Dress: @naryaref
Congratulations on becoming selected as an Ambassador for Canon EMEA! How does that feel? And how does being a Canon ambassador impact your own creative projects and photography?
Thank you! Becoming a Canon EMEA Ambassador is truly an honor. It feels like a fantastic opportunity to represent a brand I admire. Being a Canon ambassador enhances my creative projects and photography by providing access to cutting-edge equipment, exclusive events, and a supportive community. This partnership opens doors for collaboration, exposure, and the chance to push my creative boundaries with top-notch technology.
Model: @katya_mozhina / Headpiece & gown: @_black_mart_ / MUA: @natalitima_spb / Raven: @ns_animals_spb
Your work has a whimsical, imaginative quality to it. Where do you draw inspiration for the characters and stories you illustrate?
I draw inspiration from a variety of sources, blending the magic of Disney, the richness of Greek mythology with its gods and goddesses, the enchantment of folklore tales, and the intricate aesthetics of Baroque and Rococo art. Additionally, I find inspiration in costume design books, weaving together elements that contribute to the whimsical and imaginative quality in my characters and stories.
Model: @juvieeira @brantu_models / Makeup and hair: @agneshkah / Jewelry: @orfaliis
I see you've done commissions for some brands and publications. How do you approach commercial work differently than your personal projects?
Clients typically approach me for my style, particularly as many of them are designers. This allows me to maintain my unique identity and aesthetic. However, I also recognize the importance of striking a balance between preserving my creative vision and aligning with the clients' needs and brand identity. Collaboration with clients, especially in the design realm, becomes a key aspect of ensuring that the final work not only showcases my style but also effectively communicates their brand message.
@voguearabia February issue. / Model: @heetico_co @vigor.casting / Makeup & hair: @agneshkah / Styling: @elceliemy / Jewelry: @schiaparelli
I see you've used some of our Photoshop color toning actions before. What drew you to incorporate these actions into your workflow, and have the actions opened up any new creative possibilities in your work compared to what you could do previously?
I typically enjoy building the color toning in my images myself, layer by layer, witnessing my vision come alive. However, I occasionally feel stuck and sometimes it gets a bit challenging to find the perfect colors. Incorporating actions has provided a solution to this, they’ve expanded my options and provided a broader spectrum of variations that I hadn't explored before.
Model: @annaequare / Dress: @dress_arenda_spb
Which specific color toning actions have you found to be most useful for your style of work?
It’s hard to choose, but if I had to, I’d pick Wild Spring
Model: @littlebruke / Gown: @narnia_dress
What other artists or art movements have influenced or inspired you?
I draw inspiration from a diverse range of artistic movements and periods, including Renaissance art with its attention to detail, Baroque and Rococo paintings for their dramatic flair, Classicism for its order and simplicity, and Romanticism for its emotional expressiveness. Additionally, the ornate and organic forms of Art Nouveau captivate me. Among modern artists and photographers, Annie Leibovitz, Tim Walker, Bella Kotak, Lillian Liu, Jason Bell, Szilveszter Makó, Irene Rudnyk, and Irina Dzhul influence my work with their innovative approaches and unique perspectives.
Model: @vintage_egyptologist / MUA: @maieltarzimakeup / Dress: @shopmorphew
You’ve recently announced the release of your new book. What inspired you to create a book featuring your photography?
The inspiration for my new book stems from owning works by photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Tim Walker. Their beautiful creations ignited a desire in me to have my own photo book—a small legacy representing my vision and body of work.
Did you work with a publisher or self-publish your book? What led you to that decision?
I chose to self-publish my book due to challenges in finding a publisher, especially with Fine Art photography being a less common genre in Egypt. Despite attempting to work with publishers without success, the self-publishing route allowed me creative freedom without external constraints or obligations, making it a fulfilling yet challenging journey.
Model: @amiraabdelazizzz / MUA: @makeupwithraniaa / Dress: @samo_hagras / Hair: @abdo_hair_salon / Crown: @alice_louka_makeup / Falcon: @mohamedwkry
What do you hope viewers take away from this book after flipping through it?
I hope viewers find enchantment and a sense of wonder in the whimsical worlds captured in this book. Each photoshoot is a visual journey, inviting them to escape reality and embrace the magic that lies within the pages.
What are some of your goals as an artist for the next few years? What would you love to accomplish?
Traveling the world to collaborate with fellow creatives, conducting photography workshops abroad, and hosting exhibitions of my work in different countries.
Model: @rola_ghorab / Makeup & hair: @agneshkah / Styling: @ahmedwsorour / Assistant stylist: @abokamarwho / Wardrobe: @kojakstudio / Location: @irisphotostudio
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in a creative field?
Starting out in a creative field is an exhilarating journey. Begin by honing your foundational skills and understanding the principles that govern your craft. Embrace experimentation across various styles to discover your unique voice and passion within the field. Regular practice is essential for skill development, so dedicate time consistently to your creative pursuits. Seek inspiration from established artists, learning from their techniques and approaches. Constructive feedback from peers can provide valuable insights for improvement. Building a portfolio showcasing your best work will be crucial as you progress. Connect with fellow creatives, both online and offline, to broaden your network and gain exposure to different perspectives. Be patient and persistent, understanding that growth takes time. Embrace challenges, stay curious, and maintain a genuine passion for your chosen creative field. As you navigate your path, remember that the creative journey is as much about self-discovery as it is about skill acquisition.
Model: @katya_mozhina / Gown and headpiece: @_black_mart_ / Location: @peterhof_museum
Can you share five essential items that you include in your photography gear bag?
Thank you Menna for your time and thoughtful responses. We've loved getting to know you more and look forward to seeing more beautiful imagery and stories from you!
If you'd like to follow Menna's creative journey here is her Instagram and Website where you can follow along with her work and new creations!