Visual Diary: Karim El Maktafi

Finding himself through his lens

ART & CULTURE 05/05/2022

Born in Italy to Moroccan parents, photographer Karim El Maktafi continuously explores himself and his dual heritage through his lens. His work explores documentary photography and portraiture to investigate ideas of identity and belonging. 

YUNG explores what makes Maktafi tick in our Visual Diary series.


Introduce your photography in four words
Introspective. Intimate. Identity. Minimal.

What made you realise you wanted to be a photographer?
At the age of 17, at the end of the first photography course, which I did in the small town where I grew up. The photographic language captured me for its communicative immediacy through images, for its apparent simplicity and for the emotions it has always managed to give me more than the other arts.

What goes through your head when you’re photographing?
Honestly, it depends on what I’m photographing. I mainly concentrate on the scene. I consider the light and the movements of my subject. I am very attentive to the composition of the image and its “cleanliness” on a visual level.

What makes your perspective unique?
I believe that any individual’s perspective is unique.

How does your heritage influence your work?
My heritage influences my work a lot, and I think it’s mostly based almost exclusively on that. I also use photography as a tool to discover and learn who I am and where I come from.

What’s your favourite camera to use?
I don’t have a favourite camera. I’m used to using some more than others. I mostly use mirrorless, analogue medium format and, of course, my cellphone. Each project has a medium that suits it better than others.

If you were to teach someone an important lesson that you’ve learned, what would it be?
Always be kind and never give up.

Head to Karim El Maktafi’s website and Instagram to view more of his work.

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