Bio

Marwan Bassiouni came to photography at the age of 23. One night, while working as a waiter in a mountain top restaurant in the Swiss Alps, the idea just came to him. A couple of months later, he left his hotel management studies and began working as an assistant for a well known watch photographer in Geneva. After obtaining the Federal Swiss diploma in Photography Marwan began producing a short documentary film and other projects for a human rights NGO as part of his Swiss civil service. It was while being immersed in this sensitive and humanistically driven environment, that he developed a particular interest in the potential of photography to contribute to political narratives and topics related to the Middle-East.

In 2012, he travelled to Egypt and produced his first personal photographic series ‘Benghazi Hotel’, which depicted survivors of the Libyan civil war in a downtown Cairo hotel. The project was consequently published, exhibited and gained him some modest attention among a mainly photojournalistic community. However, wanting to find his own way and ideas in relation to the photographic medium he decided to further his education. In 2014, Marwan came to the Netherlands to study at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He consequently graduated in 2018.

Bassiouni’s photographs navigate between the documentary and the contemplative, the informative and the aesthetic, the political and the personal. At the heart of his practice is a will to explore the technical, aesthetic and communicative potential of the photographic medium while challenging common assumptions and perspectives. In his Bachelor thesis ‘10 000 trees in a Single Glance – The foundation of Sublime Documentary Photography’ he draws inspiration from Japanese Zen gardening aesthetics and Islamic ethics to explore a personal approach to documentary photography- One more focused on offering a sensorial, aesthetic and reflective experience rather than on reporting facts.

Statement

Why should documentary photography be so preoccupied with appearing 'real' when there is no doubt that a photograph is always a selective account. Whether an image is constructed or not, many of the issues that are depicted by photographers do really exist and we are often already aware of them. So isn't the bigger issue our unwillingness to look at a problem? And the manner by which we look?

My interest lies in offering photographs that aspire to catch the attention of a viewer, and to encourage a deeper reflection.

I believe that reality is mysterious, ungraspable, and although it is filled with conflict, it is overwhelmingly beautiful.”