Sharif Hamza is a photographer and director based in New York.
Where did you grow up?
South London. A housing project/council estate that is in the process of being torn down called the Peabody Estate.
What is your earliest photographic memory?
My mother was the stereotype of an Asian tourist. She was always taking photos and making huge photo albums with the little lab prints. I never understood why keeping the negatives was important.
How did you get started?
I used to draw a lot but always had problems with proportions. It was frustrating but photography took this away. I started at school when I was 15.
The school had a small darkroom and upon discovering it I slowly skipped most of my classes to take refuge in it.
What inspires you?
I’m fascinated by mixed race people. I think that people of bi-racial backgrounds are incredibly beautiful and intriguing. It’s an amazing thing to see a face and be infinitely curious about its origins, not being certain of where it’s features or complexions are from and to love the idea that it’s a new face that cannot be defined or categorized.
You are as fluent in photography as in motion - How do you differentiate the process in between these 2 mediums?
It’s all about communication. Each piece of work is like a conversation. We have many conversations in varied ways. What makes them interesting is the subject matter.
So the approach to the work is the same, but motion is much more of a team activity and a slower process. Photography feels more like a solo performance with more immediate conclusions.
You are British born of a Filipino mother and an Egyptian father. Do you feel like your heritage has influenced your work and your career? How so?
Yes. I like to discuss multicultural aspects in my work. I am British but not in the way Britain is usually visualized and growing up I never felt my likeness or that of many of those around be fairly or equally represented. I’m trying to change that with my own work.
It’s important to me to have diverse casting in my work and to discuss color. My parent are from two completely different cultures, different to each other and from where I was born. That means there is a lot to identify with, which is something I am used to doing and still learning to do. I try to use my work and the opportunities I have to identify with as many types of people as I can both in my professional and personal projects.
Fashion photographer Sharif Hamza began his career in 2010,
shooting the October cover for British magazine Dazed & Confused.
He quickly gained recognition for his vibrant compositions and innovative use of light.
Hamza has since collaborated on numerous editorial and cover shoots for publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue Japan, China and Arabia, V, GQ, Interview, Allure and !0 Magazine.
Hamza has worked on advertising campaigns for the likes of Ralph Lauren , Levi's, Nike, Bobbi Brown, Steve Madden and Uniqlo.
Adept in both print and film mediums, Hamza has also established himself as a prominent fashion and beauty film director.
A former assistant to New York-based photographer Steven Klein , Hamza honed his skills working alongside Klein on magazine editorials, and on shoots with notable personalities before launching his freelance career.