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The Portrist: Taking Pictures of People for One Pound

Farah Karim speaks to the masterminds behind the Egypt's newest photography project, who roam around snapping photos of people with the goal of bringing portrait photography back to life...

An Instagram account by the name of The Portrist has been going viral for its creative idea to revive the art of portraits, taking pictures of people for one pound a photo, making it cheap, easy and beautiful. One photo summoned another, the news spread and suddenly everyone wanted to have images of themselves taken by a professional photographer who doesn't charge much. 

"The whole idea was to bring back the portrait. The art of portraits was buried by the focus on wedding photography and other types of photography, whereas portraits bring out the emotions in people; it's a way of communication, where people express themselves in an image," says founder and mass communications graduate, who goes by the moniker Mafric.

Photographing local icons like Viner and YouTube comedian Abdoulrahman Ihab, and La Maquilleuse, the brand has slowly started to make a name for itself as Mafric and partner Amal Salah Eldin spread the word of their project. "We both love photography and the art of freezing a moment. He was inspired by the revolution - I remember he used to go into the streets and just snap scenes he found worthy of being captured," Salah Eldin tells us.

"I have been taking pictures professionally for five years and I am still fascinated by the beauty of black and white photos every single day," says Mafric, "To me, coloured photos capture a person, but black and white captures their soul, their biggest intimacies. A photo immortalizes a person the way they are the moment it's taken; they can look back years after and remember who they used to be and how they used to feel." 

The duo are currently launching a studio located in the 5th Settlement that specializss in portrait and fashion photo-shoots, as well as offering photography courses to bring out the artists in all those who aspire to take the hobby into a higher level.

Stay updated with their newest projects through Facebook or check out their Instagram account @theportrist23