July ‘13
Insight Interview

July ‘13
Snapshot Expert: Bassam Allam
Snapshot Expert: Bassam Allam


An eye for photography is an exceptional talent. Bassam Allam is an in-demand photographer known for his visually striking images, a flare for camerawork made him a hot talent and here speaks about his journey and his craft.

How I got there: For being passionate about what I do.

My typical day: I wake up early before my lectures or work, have tea while browsing through art online, set off to either. I often plan photo shoots during my lunch breaks. Finish, then either head home or if I have a shoot planed, I head off to the location.

My advice for landing a career like mine: Reading and browsing through art, a lot. Being patient and not being afraid to try doing something new.

Tell us more about what you do'¦

I'm an architect, photographer and a guitarist. I'm writing my thesis on Sustainable Architecture in Munich. On the side, I'm a freelance photographer; I also give photography workshops in Cairo.

Is where you are right now your childhood dream or is this something you did not expect?

Honestly, I didn't expect this to be my life at all. When I was young I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Everything kind of just happened by accident. I am very grateful to God for where I am today.

What can you do in your career that no one else can do?

One thing that people always comment about is my ability to come up with creative concepts on the spot; I find inspiration in almost everything around me. Visual improv skills, that's what makes me stand out. I am also very persistent in achieving the visions and ideas I have in my head, in the best way possible.

Who has made the biggest impact on your career so far and why?

I am blessed to have great people in my life, my parents especially, but the person, who had the biggest impact on my career, and life, is my grandfather, may he rest in peace. By telling me about his life and what he had to go through to reach where he was. His stories are what always push me to try harder and believe in my dreams.

What do you love the most and least about your job?

What I love the most about both my jobs is that I have the ability to turn my ideas and thoughts into something real. That is one of the best feelings a person could have. What I love the least about it is how stressful it is. You always have to be in a hurry to catch up with deadlines and sometimes spend nights without sleeping.

What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?

I look at life in a very positive way, I don't consider my bad experiences as failures; I see them as new experiences in life. That's why I don't consider a certain situation as the greatest failure, but as a great lesson learned, something that would encourage me to be better next time.

Tell us about a crazy/funny situation/obstacle that you had to face during your profession?

My shoots always have a lot of crazy/funny situations, due to the nature of my concepts. Funniest thing would be me on top of a ladder on a Maadi sidewalk, throwing feathers at a model lying in a haystack while taking pictures. Can you imagine the looks I got! The craziest thing would be getting arrested for shooting 'porn', with naked models and guys in Speedos. Sadly, we were just doing a normal shoot for a 'Watch' company. I guess it was too risque for our conservative community.

What's the most difficult decision you've made in the past two years and how did you reach that decision?

Two years ago I decided I was going to move to Germany, to continue with my architectural studies. I love architecture as much as I love photography; I made this decision because I wanted to have a better chance to learn about a very important subject, one that will help provide a better future for my country and for humanity, Sustainable Architecture.

What are the top five things a person in your line of work should have in order to be successful?

1- Vision