A portrait of Dominique Mauri standing with his large format camera and some still life objects, at his home and studio in Cairo, Egypt, July 14, 2023.The portrait is shot where he usually composes his images.
A portrait of Dominique Mauri standing with his large format camera and some still life objects, at his home and studio in Cairo, Egypt, July 14, 2023.The portrait is shot where he usually composes his images.

Dominique Mauri, 72, is a French photographer and a master printmaker specializing in the platinum-palladium process.

Born in Algeria in 1951, he has been a resident of Cairo for 28 years, since December 1995. Living happily with his wife Carol in the affluent neighborhood of Zamalek in Cairo, he introduces himself by saying, “There is Dominique Mauri One of France and Two of Egypt. In Egypt I am living the normal life of a normal guy. I am a photographer. To be an artist you have to keep doing the same thing everyday to perfect it.”

Mauri received advice from a photographer friend to move to Cairo back in the 90s, as France was experiencing major strikes in 1995. He recalls, "I came for 15 days and decided to stay here. I left what I have, even my luggage. I went back to Paris, I packed all my stuff and I came back on the third of March, two months later.”

Mauri arrived in Cairo with equipment that was not suitable for the local market. He had brought his 4x5 and 8x10 cameras, which were his primary tools in Paris. In June, he returned to Paris to 'downgrade' his expensive equipment to 35mm and 4x5. “The equipment was too professional and there was no commercial advertising photography in Egypt during that time. There was not an internal market for it. The big companies like Coca-Cola or Gillette had their own stock photos.”

Known for his deep precision, attention to detail, and mastery in balancing objects within their space, Mauri has played a significant role in establishing advertising and food photography in Egypt since 1996. With a portfolio spanning nearly 20 years in the advertising industry, Mauri has collaborated with reputable companies in France and Egypt, including Swatch, Evian, Vittel, Perrier, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and more.

Dominique managed to create his mark in the field of advertising photography in Egypt, even though he acknowledges, “In the notion of copyrights, when you are an advertising photographer you somehow abandon your signature, the right to put your name on a photo like in a magazine. You abandon this opportunity against money and a lot of money!”

Therefore, through his intricately composed still-life portraits of objects, he managed to establish his unique style. He developed the theory of 'hyperstéréoscopie', a technique that enhances the illusion of depth by photographing objects at a specific distance. He describes it as “photographing the object at a certain distance. A 3D effect that is given by the distance of the camera to the object, the focal length of the lens and the large format of the camera.”

In 2013, Mauri began teaching photography at the German University in Cairo. Today, he continues his journey in the world of still life. As he embraces change and enjoys his 72nd year, he has taken a break from the commercial world since COVID-19 and now finds time to create compositions that capture the beauty of stillness.

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How does it feel to be 72?

"I don't know because I don't feel it. I am still the same guy. I'm shooting even more than I was recently, maybe because I feel that time is running out, or perhaps because I somehow have more personal time now. Until COVID, I had been raising my son. In 2019, my son completed his bachelor's degree and went to Canada. He returned briefly and then went to Paris. During that time, I reorganized my studio in a different way. In 2019, I switched all my equipment from DSLR to mirrorless. Now, I am focusing more on personal photography."

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What do you look forward to?

"Nothing. I continue to do what I do. It was thanks to COVID that I reinstalled the studio with my assistant. I did one thing, I resumed something I started in 1991, which is working with lights. From 1991 up to 2020, I worked with lights. I didn't feel the necessity, what for? If you can have a flash, why would you want to work with lights? But I was creating pictures using light with a platform. These pictures were part of the last exhibition here in Cairo."

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What is your biggest concern?

"I'm doing everything because I feel I want to do it, but I don't have any concerns. I enjoy getting older, and I enjoy it a lot. I even like to create more work. The only thing I worry about is photographing landscapes. At 72 years old, I cannot carry my equipment as well as I used to. That's why I am working more in the studio and focusing on still life. I no longer accept jobs outside of the studio. I refuse those kinds of jobs now, because they consume my mind."

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Life expectancy 2023

70.81
years
Egypt

About the photographer

Amina Kadous

🌐

Amina Kadous is a visual artist based in Cairo, Egypt. She received her BFA from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her work tackles concepts of memory, identity, and the ephemerality of experience. She is driven by experience as a woman and an Egyptian.

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