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Jameela Elfaki’s guide to her favourite photographers

The AZEEMA founder’s round-up casts a light on their blossoming network of creatives. Now, in no particular order...

Found­ed by edi­tor Jameela Elfa­ki, AZEEMA is a pub­li­ca­tion cel­e­brat­ing the women of the Mid­dle East and North Africa, show­cas­ing the cre­atives that rarely make it into the pages of glossy fash­ion mag­a­zines and, impor­tant­ly, the women Elfa­ki nev­er saw when she was grow­ing up. Chal­leng­ing and con­fronting diver­si­ty issues, while keep­ing a fin­ger firm­ly on the pulse for new and emerg­ing tal­ent, the mag­a­zine has become a cel­e­bra­tion of the bur­geon­ing cul­tures around the globe, cre­at­ing a space that allows POC women to speak and be heard. With so many rea­sons to cel­e­brate tal­ent with­in the brown com­mu­ni­ty, we asked Jameela to put togeth­er an edit of some of her favourite pho­tog­ra­phers with­in the AZEEMA network. 

Tamara Abdul Hadi

Tamara’s work is so strik­ing and every image tells a par­tic­u­lar sto­ry. She cap­tures indi­vid­u­als in such a unique way. We love the rich­ness of colour in her Iraqi-Marsh­land series where she cap­tured young girl Ban­in’, her fam­i­ly and her favourite buf­fa­lo. Abdul Hadi’s work explores the com­plex­i­ty and idio­syn­crasy of minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties that are often sub­ject­ed to stereo­typ­ing and underrepresentation.

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Yumna Al-arashi

Yum­na is ridicu­lous­ly tal­ent­ed. Much of her work con­sid­ers the female body and the Mid­dle Eastern/​North African region, which she uses to edu­cate and inspire oth­ers. Yum­na is also not afraid to cre­ate art with her own body. One of our favourite projects of hers is Shed­ding Skin’. It’s a beau­ti­ful and inti­mate por­tray­al of a ham­mam, which sig­ni­fies the close rela­tion­ship and spe­cial bond women share when they’re com­fort­able with each other.

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Malak Kabbani

Mas­ter of medi­um for­mat film, she cap­tures the most beau­ti­ful and intri­cate por­traits of peo­ple and set­tings across her home­town of Cairo, Egypt and cur­rent home, Lon­don. We love Malak’s use of a tra­di­tion­al style of por­trai­ture mixed with mod­ern sub­jects. Malak shot and inter­viewed Dina – Egypt’s most famous bel­ly dancer for issue 3 of AZEEMA.

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Hanane Louardani

Hanane’s work is very beau­ti­ful. She has an eye for detail and colour, mak­ing the most sim­ple of things look stun­ning. She has a par­tic­u­lar strength in cap­tur­ing Moroc­can youth with a fem­i­nine lens. You can often tell an image is by Hanane as there is a soft­ness and warmth to her work! We fea­tured some of Hanane’s work – The Walls Are Red, The Skies Are Blue’ – in our lat­est issue.

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Mashael

Some of our favourite works by Mashael are her black and white film images and her doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phy fea­tur­ing washed out pas­tel colours and beau­ti­ful set­tings from Cairo to Jaipur. Mashael’s work explores con­cepts through sto­ry­telling and visu­al essays, with each visu­al essay explor­ing some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent. We are excit­ed to see what she does next!

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Mancie Rathod

Some of our favourite work of Mancie’s are the images she’s tak­en in her native coun­try, India. A lot of her work explores her her­itage and cul­ture which is so vibrant and so stun­ning. Her images are all colour­ful, yet del­i­cate and just visu­al­ly beautiful.

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Ladin

We are in love with Ladin’s beau­ti­ful pho­tog­ra­phy of her moth­er­land, Sudan. Some of our favourite work by Ladin is from her trip to vis­it her grandfather’s farm­land over­look­ing the 3rd cataract of the Nile. Her work explores ideas of home, iden­ti­ty, and belong­ing through a Black dias­poric lens. Ladin is also the co-founder of Chro­ma NY – a cross-dis­ci­pli­nary cre­ative stu­dio which aims to diver­si­fy our indus­tries and nur­ture a cul­tur­al con­scious­ness that cen­tres wom­xn of colour. 

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