Behind the Lens: Muffadal Abbas

Put me in front of the camera and you'll find that I'm wildly awkward. My posing is rigid, and I can't angle my face strategically. It's the very reason I prefer candids, which make for better memorabilia anyway.

In London, there exists a small band of photographers seeking such candid moments of street style superstars. Muffadal Abbas is one of them. But after capturing some of the most celebrated names in fashion, he's finally stepping away from street style as we know it. I wanted to find out why. 

When was the moment you knew photography was what you wanted to do full-time? 
When I was at University, I got asked to come out to a friend's birthday party. I wasn’t interested in going at first, as I don’t really drink or go clubbing in general, but my friends forced me. One of them had a professional camera, so I took that from him and started taking pictures of random people at the club just so that I had something to keep me occupied. That's when I realised I wanted to do photography full-time. It creates unique emotions and relationships with the subject/s.

What initially drew you to street style photography? 
The fashion, the people and the opportunity to travel the world, connecting with so many different individuals and brands. I also liked the general stereotype that comes with being a fashion photographer, although, street style photography isn’t really considered fashion photography per say. 

Yet, you've started shifting away from street style photography, why is that?
To be completely honest, I got tired of chasing around pretentious "fashion influencers" who pretended they don't care about the photo. Also, I’m not a big fan of extreme weather, whether that's cold and rainy or hot and humid, with 100s of photographers surrounding me to get the same shot of the same person in the same clothes. It was getting ridiculous and my motivation to do it was finally gone. Plus, I was in Paris. I very much dislike Paris. 

Who are your favourite subjects to photograph? 
Beautiful people; models, musicians, people who dress well and people who have a real story. I've also thought about photographing the most influential and important people on this planet, but I haven’t got to that yet. 

What emotions do you hope to bring out through your photos? 
It really depends on the subject and the context. If, for example, I’m shooting a musician, I want to bring out their persona in the picture. If I’m shooting a model, I want people to look at the image and want to keep staring at it because his or her look is magnetic. 

How do you find the motivation to keep doing what you do, especially when the field is so competitive? 
I've gone beyond the point of trying to monetise my work. I shoot because I enjoy connecting with new people and because I appreciate the entire process of photography.

Where do you find your inspiration? 
Other photographers, various magazines and the subject themselves.

Who would be your dream person or thing to photograph? 
People who I respect and have grown up with, from musicians to successful people, such as Dr Dre, Jay Z or Elon Musk. I would love to shoot them and get a chance just to have a conversation with them about anything.  

What advice do you have for those wanting to get into photography? 
Practice, practice, practice and try to be the best. Always go for the kill. 

FeaturesSanchita Sivaraman