Mustafa's graphic-fuelled vision is inherent in all the shots he takes. He really does have a gift in composing images that aesthetically sing out of their frames. He is highly adept at using his everyday life to craft something beautiful, something optically exquisite to observe and ultimately enjoy. Very much like the master, William Eggleston who used colour to his advantage to capture the mundane in life and make it beautiful, Mustafa bares some of this ability in his work. This isn't at all to say that what he takes, in essence, is mundane, but what most people would pass as just an unimaginative or normal view, standard in most people's everyday life, Mustafa cultivates through angle, vantage point and gesture to reinvent it, and rejuvenate it to stand out amongst the crowd. His shots have that visual pizzaz that demands more than one look to take in all that he has intended the viewer to see and be a part taker in his vision.
Recently, Mustafa really caught my eye with a series of shots he is currently working on that bare the parity of yet another of my photographic heroes, Saul Leiter. The classic misty-windowed look from Leiters photographs like T 1950, Street Scene 1959 and Snow 1960 and carry this resemblance in Mustafa's work.
That everyday sighting that others involved in the scene or those that simply walk on by, blind to the aesthetic opportunities to see something more sumptuous than meets the eye, are made into works of art through careful composition, exploitation of colour and patient intent to allow the environment to fit all that hope one is pinning on the shot. This series is inspired. But his creativity to take stunning images doesn't just stop at his street and documentary photography portfolio shot with the 53mm FOV. His contributions to landscape photography using the XF35mm f/2 lens is superb too.
In particular, both his day and nighttime shots carry a certain mystery to them and maybe its the solitary feel that they evoke that aids in this assumption. A narrative silence is felt, a cinematic pause is instilled and moments of inquisitive ponder is forced upon the viewer to maybe consider what has transpired or what indeed is to come. I like to call these shots aesthetic expectations, summoning mood, atmosphere and some emotive response to the environment photographed.
It is easy to see that Mustafa has a passion for his photography and his graphic design work carries the same vein. I am honoured to have his work included in this flourishing and inspirational portfolio and his series of shots submitted in this feature more than demonstrates his unique vision to record moments and places in a very beautiful and charming 53mm FOV way.
This is what Mustafa had to say about his photography and use off the 53mm FOV:
My name is Mustafa. I am a freelance illustrator and printmaker with a passion for photography, based in Montréal, Canada.
I started in photography in 1999 when I was in art school. My family had an old 35mm analog camera with a 50mm manual lens. It was such a pleasure to shoot film and learn the developing process in darkroom. Photography has been a passion ever since.
In 2005, I’ve got my first digital camera. From that day forward, I never stopped shooting. I capture the moment to take visual notes that I use for future inspirations. Everything can be the subject of my photography. I love capturing cinematic moments, landscapes, portraits or just simple street scenes.
The first time I met with a Fujifilm X system camera was two years ago. One of my close friends had just started to use a Fuji X-20. I really liked the vintage design and the image quality of this little machine. After a little research and reading interesting reviews on the internet, I decided to get a Fujifilm camera. I was never a zoom-lense type of guy, but honestly speaking buying a compact camera with a fixed prime lens scared me a bit. So instead of buying an X100T with a prime lens, I bought an XE-2 and a 27mm f2.8 lens. I loved this camera, and the lens with it. A few months later, Fuji announced the 35mm f/2 R WR lens. It was exciting news for me, and I got one immediately. From that moment, it became my favourite lens. It is fast, sharp and very versatile! Maybe because of an old habit I feel that I am much comfortable with 53mm focal length.
Since my first digital camera, I’ve used different brands of cameras. But using a Fujifilm camera with a 35mm lens gives me the same pleasure as using my family’s old analog camera. It is really fun to use, inspiring and something about it just makes me want to go out and shoot.