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Exclusive Q&A with renowned artist and photographer, Ramzi Mansour

Art enthusiasts can look forward to an unforgettable evening at the “Memoirs of Light” on the 18th of March in Cape Town. Featuring Leica Ambassador, Ramzi Mansour, alongside acclaimed father and daughter artist duo, Martin and Samantha Lee Osner. The exhibition will present 18 new artworks on show for the first time.

Ramzi Mansour Nostalgia Demure Collection

We caught up with Ramzi Mansour ahead of the exhibition.

Glamour: What's the story behind the "Memoirs of Light" exhibition?

Ramzi Mansour: The story behind our "Memoirs of Light" exhibition is close to my heart. It all started with my desire to explore the theme of memories in a feminine context using various artistic techniques and, of course, light. As a photographer and artist, I've always been fascinated by the power of light to transform an image or a space, and I wanted to explore this further in my work. Luckily, I was not alone in this pursuit. I have two friends, father and daughter Martin and Samantha Lee Osner, who are also photographic artists who share my passion for exploring memories through art. We started to collaborate, bouncing ideas off each other and individually began experimenting with different techniques, and the exhibition naturally evolved for here.

Glamour: What can we expect?

RM: You can expect to experience mixed emotions ranging from tranquility to emotiveness. Each piece tells a unique story and is intended to resonate with the viewer personally. While each artist's work in the exhibition is different, an underlying theme ties everything together. The showcase is all about memories that evoke emotion, whether it's a nostalgic recollection of a walk in the woods as a child, a warm memory of a summer's day on the beach, a poignant moment with a loved one, or a feeling of pure contentment with oneself. Concerning my work, I wanted to create a sense of emotional depth and resonance to draw the viewer in and allow them to connect with the piece personally. Whether through colour, composition, or subject matter, I aim to create a powerful emotional experience that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. Ultimately, I hope visitors walk away feeling moved, inspired, and enriched by the emotional journey they have experienced through the artwork.

Glamour: Please talk us through the collection and the inspiration behind it?

RM: I chose the name "Demure" for my exhibition, as it reflects the soft, reserved nature of the women in each of my pieces. I aimed to capture the modesty of these women in their respective journeys and depict a moment frozen in time that represents a glimpse into their lives. The beauty of this exhibition is that it provides a space for three artists to interpret a common theme in their unique ways. In contrast to my interpretation, Samantha Lee Osner's artwork follows a minimalistic style she is well-known for, which adds a different layer to the exhibition. Martin Osner's, on the other hand, has come in with bold and expressive interpretations of nostalgia, another striking addition to the showcase.

Eighteen unique pieces on the show celebrate art individuality combined with creative expression. As an artist, I am inspired by the human experience and the stories we carry within ourselves. Each piece I have created captures a moment of contemplation, self-reflection, or introspection and invites the viewer to share in the emotions that are being conveyed.

Glamour: Please let us in on your creative process for this particular exhibition?

RM: As a photographer, my creative process for this exhibition began with deeply exploring the theme of overcoming trials and tribulations. I knew I wanted to create a series of images that told a powerful story and conveyed a sense of resilience and strength. As I have already mentioned, to bring this vision to life, I worked closely with Martin and Samantha to explore different techniques and approaches that could help me achieve the look I was after. We experimented with various lighting setups, props, and poses, constantly refining our ideas and pushing ourselves to create something special. Throughout the process, I poured my heart and soul into each image. Every shot was an opportunity to express a piece of myself and connect with the viewer meaningfully. And as we pieced together the final series, I could see how every artwork I had created had become a part of who I am as an artist and person.

It was a departure from my usual day-to-day studio photography, as the process was driven by a specific theme rather than client needs. I had to let the theme guide me and find my way to a conclusion, which often proved challenging. I kept pushing, kept experimenting, and eventually, everything fell into place. When I now look at the final series, it truly reflects my creative process and journey throughout.

Glamour: Please expand on the significance of light in relation to your work?

RM: As a photographer, light is a crucial element in my work. It's not just a technical aspect that I must consider but an integral part of the stories I tell through my art. For me, light has the power to create mood, convey emotions, and evoke a sense of drama and contrast. It's a symbol of hope, transformation, and enlightenment that can add a layer of meaning to a photograph. In creating this collection, I decided to abandon controlled lighting and work more freely. This approach allowed for a less predictable rendition, so I could capture more spontaneous moments and emotions.

Glamour: Please expand on your approach to storytelling?

RM:As a storyteller, I believe that the most powerful narratives come from personal experiences. That's why my approach to storytelling involves taking stories from my own life and the lives of those around me and bringing them to life through a creative medium. As a man, I understand that I will never truly be able to understand the world from a woman's perspective. However, by listening, observing, and empathizing, I can better understand their experiences and use that knowledge to tell their stories. My goal is always to use my skills as a storyteller to create moments that capture the story's essence and bring it to life in an authentic and engaging way.

Glamour: What do you enjoy most about creating art in the digital era?

RM: In the digital era, we can have more options. That being said; it comes with its challenges. Because so much more creativity is available, I find the medium twice as complex. Digital photography opens an avenue for an almost limitless ability to create, and at the end of the day, that's what artists want; to create so, I welcome it. As an artist, I have witnessed our society's rapid transformation into a digital age, where incredible technological advancements such as AI are becoming increasingly prevalent. While I have seen some truly unique pieces created with just a few keystrokes, no matter how beautiful these pieces may be, they will never be able to match the emotive and powerful expressions of human artistry. Creating art requires a great deal of imagination and emotional fortitude, and this human touch gives art its unique and irreplaceable value.

Glamour: What conversations are you hoping will emanate around the exhibition?

RM: As an artist, I aim to create pieces that resonate with people and communicate my stories. Specifically, I want women to see through my art that I recognize how challenging yet incredible it is to be a woman. While I may never fully understand what it's like to be a woman, I strive to showcase them as I see them: powerful, beautiful, vulnerable, and ethereal in their being. I want my art to reflect women's unique experiences and perspectives and inspire others to appreciate and celebrate the diversity and complexity of the female experience.

Glamour: What's the one thing you hope guests will remember from attending the exhibition?

RM: I hope my art can give viewers a glimpse into a genuinely ethereal moment where beauty and reality coexist in perfect harmony. Through my pieces, I aim to showcase the inherent beauty of women and how it reveals themselves in their unique form. I want my art to transport viewers to a place where they can see and appreciate the magical qualities of the world around them and inspire them to find beauty in unexpected places.

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