DIARY OF A MISGUIDED HIPPIE NEWS AND CULTURE

WOMAN BEHIND THE LENS : AMINA EL KABBANY

We're obsessed with how beautiful Oakland's #unityincolor photoshoot came out. Discover how the shoot came about, and the artists behind it.

21 year old Amina El Kabbany is a full time artist, photographer, and creator. Last week, Amina blessed the gram with a gold monochrome photo set that featured multigenerational Bay based queens. The #unityincolor series was “created to pay homage to early American Feminist movements, while acknowledging that inclusive and intersectional feminism is our standard today.”  

Amina El Kabbany

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Photo by Vavi Mami

“Photography was always more of a hobby I guess, it felt so natural to want to preserve the history of my life so I could share it with those in my life in the future.”

Tell us a bit about yourself and how long have you been a photographer?

I’m a 21 year old freelance photographer and artist, I’ve been freelancing for about a year now full time actually which is a huge deal for me to finally have the means to do what I love full time.  I pretty much live and breathe art, I’m always thinking about how I can take an experience and transform it into something tangible that everyone can relate to and how I can use my art and talents to shift the world around me.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been someone who was constantly capturing passing moments; as a kid, going on field trips, hanging out with friends, I was always strapped with disposables or those dinky little point and shoots.  Cameras have been somewhat of an extra limb for most of my life, however I only started considering myself a “photographer” maybe in the past two years.

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Photo by Amina El  Kabbany

Taking photos is the easiest way for me to communicate and interact with the world and the people in it, it’s how I connect.  Photography was always more of a hobby I guess, it felt so natural to want to preserve the history of my life so I could share it with those in my life in the future.  It was only when I came to the realization that photography had suddenly consumed my entire life and when people started asking me to shoot photos of them and I was being booked to photograph events and such that I claimed the title. I’m still trying to get comfortable with the word “photographer” mostly because I feel as though labels are so limiting and I do so much more than just take pictures. Despite that, it feels surreal that I have the privilege to claim it as my occupation and I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else to make a living, until I discover something that captivates me in the same way, at least.

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Photo by Amina El Kabbany

What was the inspiration behind this shoot?

As grateful as I am to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a powerful movement and photograph all of these women alongside my best friend Vanessa, I actually can’t claim or take credit for the inspiration behind this shoot; there were so many women who had a hand in making this happen- Jess Tse, a fellow YK La Familia member, reached out to me about photographing a gathering of women to take a stand for women’s rights and before I had any other information about it, I was already in.  I never hesitate when things that fall in alignment with what I want to do come into my life; as soon as I agreed, Jess passed my contact information along to the organizer of the Oakland Chapter of the shoot, Chi Chai, who did an absolutely amazing job coordinating the details from getting girls to show up in the right colors all the way down to booking a venue for everyone to meet on the day of the shoot. An incredible multifaceted woman named Jasmine Solano is responsible for the inception of this ongoing shoot, Unity in Color; she envisioned a social project that would display solidarity among women in a time where togetherness is crucial, and it successfully communicates exactly that.  Jasmine’s hope was that people all across the nation would execute similar shoots of people wearing gold, tan and yellow tones in order to pay homage to the colors of early Women’s Rights and Feminist movements.  The monochromatic color scheme creates a powerful visual message that speaks for itself.

“If there’s anything that I would hope people take from this shoot, it’s that we are more powerful when we stand together, and that everything is possible when we work together.” 

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Photo by Amina El Kabbany

What do you want people to take from this shoot?

If there’s anything that I would hope people take from this shoot, it’s that we are more powerful when we stand together, and that everything is possible when we work together.  There’s so much stigma perpetuated by mainstream media out there that pits us all against each other, but it’s only because the infamous “they” don’t want us working together, because they know that “they” wouldn’t stand a chance against us if we did.  It’s so important to recognize and remember that despite what happens to us, we are in control of our actions and reactions, and so we need to take conscious steps in the right direction towards actions that we know will impact our futures in a healthy, positive way, whilst sticking it to the man. Displaying our solidarity and becoming more active our communities are steps in that direction that we can take.

Much thanks to Amina for taking the time to answer some of my questions! For more photos of this wonderful shoot, click HERE

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Inception by @xojsmn, Organized by @chichai.empire, Photo by @thecaffeinist, Behind-the-scenes by @vavimami

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