24-year-old Egyptian photographer Malak Kabbani has always been a fan of J.W. Anderson’s gender neutral aesthetic ever since she set her sights on the brand’s first campaign with Jamie Hawkesworth.
A couple of months ago, Kabbani clocked that Anderson—who is a self-proclaimed photography nerd—was on the hunt for emerging photographers. The competition invited young photographers to submit a series of six images to win the chance to shoot the brand’s latest campaign. “I found myself only sending black and white images. I’m not sure why , but it felt right”, says Kabbani. After a few weeks, she received the news that her pictures had been shortlisted – which eventually led to them being shown in an exhibition hosted by the brand entitled Your Picture / Our Picture.
Kabbani moved to London from Cairo when she was 17-years-old to study an arts foundation at Central Saint Martins. “Cairo is always a source of inspiration” she says, but insists that her time living in London is what has exposed her to greater creativity and diversity, which has allowed her work to flourish and grow significantly.
At university, she found a lot of freedom in shooting fashion but Kabbani doesn’t want to confine her work to one genre. Yet, whether she shoots fashion, documentary or portraiture, the young photographer is driven by an innate commitment to “truth”. “Most of the time my work is unplanned. I’ll always meet the model or the sitter, have a conversation, get to know the person and take it from there”, she says.