Young, ambitious women prosper everyday in defeating the so many stereotypes they’re born with in the Middle East, particularly by succeeding in their careers and personal growth. Nourhan Khalifa is one of these women. The self-taught photographer has made a name for herself in Egypt’s fashion scene, from taking over our Instagram feed to snapping your favorite models and more. A freelance portrait and fashion photographer, Khalifa has worked with local designers, models and even big names, including Latifa. We caught up with Khalifa to discuss the past, future, and of course, the present.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From colors, food, fruits, sweets, nature, traveling, and sometimes books. I love to read from novels.
Was this always the career path you were headed towards or was there a different journey in the works?
Fashion, photography and styling was my passion since I was in school, but me and my mum started to grow this passion of mine in the last four years. During my time in university, no one taught me anything, I taught myself everything. I learned how to Photoshop by myself at a very young age, exploring every tool; even in photoraphy, my room was always full of books about photography. I started to go to events to network and gain more contacts, experience, hear from others and more. That helped me a lot and encouraged me to believe more in myself.
As an Arab woman what do you find to be the greatest challenge in your career and how do you combat it to achieve success?
At first, the competition was so hard, especially because I am girl. I wasn’t satisfied because it was so hard for people in my country to believe that female photographers existed. Especially ones that are my age. I was 18!!! And then I realized that that I could use this to my advantage…
In the long run how do you imagine yourself, your career, and your talent growing in the next 10 years?
I believe that I won’t be just known in my country, but I’ll be known internationally. My dream is to take over the covers of magazines.
What has been your favorite shoot to date?
This is a hard question, because for me, every shoot has its own story. But I would say it was when I had my first call from the legendary Latifa, and when she told me, that I was the first person to stand up and have my own style, as I convinced her to shoot with a different set up, and that I surprised her with so many techniques other photographers never showed her.
If you could go back in time and give young Nouran a piece of advice, what would you tell her?
I would tell her to never take long breaks, and to always keep people updated with you. I would encourage her more than ever to keep doing what you love, because you’re made to inspire the world, and the upcoming generations. And most importantly, the sky is the limit.