Viewing his life through a cinematic filter, Egyptian photographer Youssef Nabil (born 1972) sees his actions and relationships as scenes advancing a beautifully constructed plot.
Heavily influenced by the glamour and melodrama of the golden age of Egyptian cinema, Nabil was drawn to the old technique of hand-coloring black and white photographs which was still very common in Egypt. Thus, shot in black and white, all his silver gelatin prints are then hand-colored.
This new body of work on view at The Third Line in Dubai explores notions of transition and change as Nabil reflects upon an Egypt that is rapidly transforming and acquiring new ideals that he is unfamiliar with. An alien disconnect that has much more to do with the changing landscape than his physical absence, Nabil presents ephemeral imagery that he feels will soon be lost forever.
The Veiled Women series features women from the fields of art, music and cinema, all adorning the Mediterranean veil.
In The Last Dance series, change is explored through the medium of dance. Multiple images of belly dancers caught in whirling movements make up a kaleidoscopic visual frenzy. The slow disappearance of these belly dancers is significant of a new cultural identity that is following political shifts in the Egyptian mindsets.
The Transformation panels look at the subtle change in the subject through seven stages.
Youssef Nabil was an assistant to the celebrity portrait photographer David LaChapelle in New York in 1993, and also trained subsequently with Mario Testino in Paris.
Nabil won the Seydou Keita Award at the Biennial of African Photography in Bamako in 2003. His work has been exhibited at the Rencontres d’Arles in France, at the Fries Museum in Holland, at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, at the Aperture Foundation in New York, as well as in Barcelona, Mexico City, Cape Town, Cairo, and Dubai.
Monographs published on Nabil's work include Sleep in My Arms (Autograph ABP and Michael Stevenson, 2007), I won't let you die (Hatje Cantz, 2008) and Youssef Nabil (Flammarion, 2013).
The Third Line Website