Sunday, February 8, 2009

Picture This: Youssef Nabil

I have just fallen under the spell of a considerably talented young photographer, one Youssef Nabil, an Egyptian expatriate now settled in Manhattan. Lucky city.

Nabil's speciality is the portrait photograph. He works in soft tints and handwashes, creating an effect that recalls the glory days of Egyptian film and the lost cosmopolitan world that was swept away in the Nasserist revolution of 1952.

Above is one of my favorite, to date, of his works, a suitably formidable portrait of that Café favorite, the smoldering dancer/actress/phenomenon Fifi Abdou. As you can see, she's fierce.

But Youssef also works in a gentler and considerably more romantic vein, as evidenced by the moody study above. I really can't rave about him too much, and I insist that you visit his presence on the Intertubes at your earliest convenience. He has not only a dazzling range of pictures, but some marvelously literate articles and interviews, including a fabulous one with Egyptian screen legend Faten Hamema (a former Mrs. Omar Sharif and something of the Audrey Hepburn of the Nile).

Lucky readers in Washington, DC (well, something has to make you lucky, to make up for living there) will have the chance to see some of his cinema portraits as part of the Kennedy Center's upcoming Arabesque festival. I'd get there, if I were you; Fifi's waiting.


  1. this looks wonderful. yesterday i went to the art institute of chicago. thay have a new exhibition by the photographer"yousuf karsh." great work!!!