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MOHAMED HASSAN

Originally from Alexandria, I have been living and working in Pembrokeshire, in west Wales in the UK since 2007, graduating with a 1stclass honours degree in Photography from Carmarthen School of Art in 2016.  I have been shortlisted for several awards and competitions and my work has been exhibited at the prestigious Mission Gallery, the Waterfront National Museum in Wales the Trajectory Showcase Competition Exhibition in Shoreditch, London, Nova Cymru 2018 and most recently I have a portrait included in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait exhibition 2018 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

My journey with photography started at a young age, accompanying my professional photographer father to his studios in Alexandria, Egypt or to a wedding or party, as I got older I helped him to record these events both on film and video camera, a great foundation and training for the future.   

Living and studying in Wales has been pivotal to my journey as an artist.  When I first arrived there I felt as if I were in a dream, as I discover and explore more of Wales I find inspiration all around.  Whether I am packing up my camera and trekking up the Carmarthenshire Fans or a gentle walk on a Pembrokeshire beach I feel blessed to experience and photograph these incredible landscapes and to have had the opportunity through the Arts Council of Wales International Opportunities Fund to promote the rugged beauty of Wales to a wider audience in Egypt.

 

I am equally happy packing up my kit for a day out around Pembrokeshire – or going into the studio for a portrait shoot. The joy of an interesting model, a cloudy day or an inspiring location is immense.  

I work in both black and white and colour and want to draw you into the image I am making evoking an emotional response. Whether a portrait or landscape I focus on the mood and light of the scene and want to portray subtle and subdued characteristics of the image.

My portrait work aims to challenge some of the stereotypes and judgements that people make about other people. My personal experience as an Egyptian living in Wales for the last 10 years is that I am often judged or stereotyped by my appearance. During the last few years, as a result of events in the world, I have personal experience of less tolerance of my background with people sometimes behaving very negatively towards me as a fear of Islam and Muslims has grown.

Increasingly in my work I want to explore equality and tolerance in a wider way.I choose to take photographs of people of different ages, gender, race and sexual orientation. I try to have a consistent approach to photographing my subjects, I want to find a way to equalize each subject and strip away their personal appearance so that the impression that the viewer gets is of a human, an individual, not a stereotype.On some shoots subjects are not clothed which represents the equality that we all have at birth and death, seeing beyond the subject’s outer appearance and presenting a calm inner presence in the images I produce.It is my hope that the viewer of my portraits asks: Who is this person? What is their story? Is this person the person I think or believe they are?