Harper’s Bazaar Arabia: Tell us how you met.
Mohammed al Kindi (Chndy): Me and Mo [Cheba Moha] met in Muscat in 2013 and we became online friends afterwards. Mo was back in Canada and wanted to come to the Middle East, so he stayed with me in Oman for a bit.
Prod Antzoulis: I knew Mo from Tumblr. I was moving back to Dubai and we had arranged to meet up. I ended up meeting Chndy on the same day and we had a shoot with the three of us. Mo had styled Chndy and I was shooting it.
HBA: What was your first collaborative project?
Cheb Moha: Vans’ first Middle East campaign in 2017. We were in charge of production, photography, video, an art installation and a party.
HBA: How does the dynamic work between you?
PA: We have this level of understanding. It’s a circle, we rotate and whatever anyone feels like doing, they take charge of it.
HBA: What do you like most about working together?
CM: It brings joy, at least for me. Aside from working together, we are also great friends and we get to create content that we’re all passionate about. It’s still a new thing for us, so it’s like an adventure.
HBA: In what way do your backgrounds and heritage influence your work?
MK: I want to do a project where I shoot everything in my city [Muscat], expressing the culture and history.
PA: My parents were very involved in the design industry. My mum has been a collector of fashion for 30 years. I feel like it doesn’t necessarily influence it, it just makes sense for me to be doing what I do.
HBA: What did you like about shooting Saudi model Taleedah Tamer for Gucci?
MK: She’s charismatic, she’s fun to shoot. And she was down to do things that people would usually say no to. Like climbing rocks. I didn’t expect her to be that comfortable. It shows just how professional and dedicated she is.
HBA: Who or what is your favourite thing to shoot?
CM: People on vacation is my new interest.
PA: Street scenes in the Middle East. Kids are more expressive and don’t have a guard up.
Photography trio Prod Antzoulis, Cheb Moha and Mohammed al Kindi, AKA ‘Chndy’, shooting with Bazaar and Gucci in Mykonos, June 2018
HBA: What do you love most about working in the Middle East?
MK: Growing up I didn’t see pictures of Oman, where I lived, online. I remember going to an Adidas store and seeing kids in Brooklyn in the ad campaign. I was like, ‘Why aren’t the kids in my neighbourhood in this?’ I wanted that to change, so I started shooting just normal day-to-day things and uploading them on Tumblr. My friend told me it was art and I said, ‘No, it’s just me and my friends hanging out’, until I realised that this is what I want to push out.
HBA: Do you see a time when Arab photographers will regularly shoot international magazine covers?
MK: The skill is here, people just need to trust.
HBA: Have you faced any challenges personally?
CK: Yes, but it’s just a step to the next floor.
CM: I’m not going to sit here and whine about it. It’s part of any journey. There are obstacles and you have to overcome them.
HBA: Which Middle Eastern photographers inspire you?
CM: Growing up it was Hassan Hajjaj. He’s like the godfather of photography.
HBA: Which Middle Eastern women would you like to shoot?
PA: [Dutch model] Imaan Hammam.
MK: Ahlam the [Emirati] singer; she’s a legend.
HBA: Which Middle Eastern women inspire you?
CM: My girlfriends in Tunis. Most of them are working in the industry and they’re producing work that speaks for all of us.
HBA: What impact does social media have on the role of pro photographers?
CM: Most of the jobs we’ve gotten were through Instagram. It’s where we exist.
HBA: Nowadays everyone has a camera phone and therefore equipped to take a picture. Is that a good thing?
PA: Yes, so they can document their world and show people what they’re about. But the problem is when people think they are photographers, but it’s just a trend rather than a passion.
HBA: What would be your dream shoot, if there were no financial limitations?
PA: To create a set where I’m able to transport the viewers to a different world. That’s my dream. To have the resources to create a surreal set.
MK: I’d do what I’m doing now but better. To shoot the people I can’t access now. More Arab celebrities, royal families, kings and rulers.
Photography: Cheb, Chndy and Prod. Styling: Gemma Deeks. Model: Taleedah Tamer
From the September issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia