Art of Assem AlSabban is very much differentiated because when one looks at his works it’s not that easy to figure out whether it’s a painting or a photography, some look like illustrations, but all of them with different techniques applied. Assem doesn’t give preference to film or digital camera, he has the same passion for both with the only difference that he uses different approaches when choosing the type of camera. Port.Folium team had pleasure to visit Assem’s studio and dive into inspiration and creativity world. Bordeaux colour walls with framed pictures on them, wooden floors, soft and relaxing light, great Italian classic singers songs have created perfect atmosphere for a pleasant and relaxing conversation.
What kind of works do you do now? Is it commercial or art works?
Well now I do only art work, not for commercial purposes. I believe here’s a lot of people to do commerce and I don’t want to compete with anybody. I concentrate only on the artworks. It’s my passion. Sometimes I sell my pictures, but to friends, I don’t try to sell them commercially. I make the price reasonable so anybody from my friends can afford it.
It’s joy to any artist or photographer to show their works, at the same time I don’t want to show my work to people who don’t appreciate art. I had exhibition in Egypt, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Prague and Paris. I work nearly every day with photos.
How do you see the difference between commercial art and art not for money?
Well, commercial one makes money, good money. I did commercial work for many years. I worked with the biggest advertising agencies, I don’t do that anymore. I prefer to spend my time working on my own artwork.
But do you work with the same passion for commercial works?
Yes, but its a different kind of passion, passion for perfection,details and results. When doing professional commercial work one has to possess an eye for such work. Serious commercial work is another world, you work with professionals who want top quality in everything, and that is a positive challenge.
We see you’ve got a lot of works here in the studio. How many hours did you spend on them?
In average the picture would take from 4 to 5 hours, others would take a few months to finalise. If you use a film camera, then a lens and a film is all you basically have; here we are talking about Medium format and Big Format films, what you call 120mm, 4x5inch and 8×10 inch films. Nothing digital. For this kind of pictures “shift and tilt” options allow endless possibilities for control. Serious advertisement in magazine takes days and many hours of work to perfect just one shot.
From your point of view, is there a way how to get a perfect shot without further photoshopping it?
Yes of course. You have to always target for a perfect shot. But when you’re using film camera, it costs more. So you put the camera, you set it, you wait for the right time and moment… and you click. Here, we are talking about artistic photography.
And how much time you spend on photo editing? What actually takes longer, to take a shot or to edit it?
To take a shot, because I know what I want. For example to make a work in the “motion” style, I take a series of photos that I combine into one end result. While an artwork like “Freedom” with pigeons, I took the shot, but applied the movement effect already working in studio.
We have noticed palette in the studio. Do you also paint?
I was never able to paint. I experiment with colours, I still try it.
How is your style called?
I have different styles of work – “my styles”. For example PhotoMotion, PhotoPainting , PhotoAcrylic Painting, Photo Impressionism, and one of my latest styles is Melting point. I also many times mix different style into my final ArtWork. My mood defines my style.
Besides creating works you are also teaching photography, is it true?
Yes, I teach photography as well; I mainly teach how to set an eye for the picture. Usually my students are my friends or amateur photographers who want to learn more. Every lesson, I give them home work that helps improve their skills and teach them to see more as a photographer. I’m proud of my students work and continuous improvement.
When it comes to portraits of your friends, how do you take them?
I apply different styles to each person. It depends how I feel about each person’s character. And what is more important that it’s all about getting into contact with the person. Main principle in taking photos of people – don’t push, let them be themselves.
Do you name all your pictures?
Not all, some of them. The more you look into my work the more you’ll discover what I want to convey in my work.
The studio has multiple pictures on the walls. They display two cities: Paris and Prague. Which city you prefer?
Paris does not impress me as a city. Prague is the place where I feel comfortable and where i’m inspired.
Do you have favorite places in Prague to go for photo hunting?
No. Actually I go everywhere. Prague is a dream land for photographers.
How did you find your studio?
A good friend of mine advised me. In the beginning it looked different; I had to change The colour of the walls and floor in the way I like, in order to get the proper atmosphere.