© Ibrahim Azab, PW_DSF0119.tif, 2020.

We commissioned Ibrahim Azab to create a new series of images to mark our 25th Anniversary. PW)_H3RE N0W)//_SINCE TH3N has been made using old Photoworks Annuals and reimagines some of the imagery in our magazine archive.

Could you explain your practice and how you work in a few sentences?

Fitting somewhere between sculpture, performance and language within photography, my work attempts to explore the process of seeing and unseeing representations of the authentic in contemporary culture, and what it means to look at something. I tend to make work over a fairly short period. The process is quite intense. Occasionally images occur after a sudden reaction to something I’ve just read about or seen.

What one thing has most helped to shape your practice?

Community. It’s unprecedented how much having the right people around you can expose you to the most amazing ideas. Hearing what they have to say, and having them listen to you, open you up to completely new worlds and ways of thinking – it pushes you in ways you thought you couldn’t be pushed. It’s what makes things exciting!

Why photography? Why the still image? 

I never really planned to pursue photography before studying, but I was obsessed with cameras growing up. In my group of friends, we all had some form of camera, and would always photograph what we were doing. At college, I was playing a lot with photographs and paint, which is when I became obsessed with images. I guess the internet was an incentive to start saying something about us, and this was something I caught onto quite quickly. After spending time at university, I developed a new relationship with photography and art.

Where do your ideas begin?

I always struggle to answer this, because I feel it’s a concern within my practice itself. My work carries along my experiences and influences, and is heavily inspired by questioning our ability to understand – knowingness of being, otherness and dreams. So, in that context, my ideas would come from everyday experiences and frustration. Growing up as a millennial, I have always been frustrated with the world in some way – whether with politics or with an institution telling you what you can and cannot do. Now I would say that my ideas come from wanting to make a genuine impact on how we see the world – both what’s in plain sight and what’s in hiding.

What’s next for you?

All I can say for now is que sera sera. It’s a weird time for everyone. There’s not much material available to explore, so it’s hard to say when everything will start up again. I am a member of Revolv Collective, and we had a lot planned off the back of our exhibition at Seen Fifteen in London earlier this year. Unfortunately those plans are on hold for now. A couple of group shows have been planned as a reaction to what’s happening right now, and I’m thinking of ways we can adapt. I haven’t stopped making work. I’m playing around with images shot on mobile and planning to produce some sculptural works.

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Becoming a Photoworks Friend is the only way to receive a Photoworks Festival in a Box. Join now to get yours as well as a range of year round exclusive content, opportunities, invites and 20% off in our online shop.

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