Capturing Portraits with Wassim Farah

Since age 19, Wassim Farah has captured portraits of fleeting immortals like Jorja SmithPlayboi Carti, Drake, Tyler the Creator, and A$AP Rocky. Hailing from Ottawa, Canada, Farah’s shots of glamour and opulence remain subdued. Taking inspiration from the abject rebellious nature of one’s environment, what springs forth? What is concealed? Soft and up close, Farah’s work is inspired by the refreshing and contemporary elements of music and fashion. His work only continues into the likes of both. And what draws us even closer? Farah’s scene is a call to youth and alienation, a silent retrieval reminding us of the timelessness of our 21st-century giants and our short affair with youth.

Lindsay Vrckovnik and Vanessa Campana, 2019. Photographed by Wassim Farah

What should we know about you?
I’m scared of roller coasters. I’m 24. I’m a Photographer/Videographer. Creative Director sometimes.

Where are you from?
Ottawa, Canada. But I come from a mixed background. My mom is half Czech and half west African, and my father is from Lebanon.

When did you pick up photography?
About 6 years ago, it started when I was finishing up high school. Trying to decide what I could as a career from what I was good at, and gradually photography just took over my life after I finished high school.

What was your first camera? I’ve always had cameras around me growing up, but the first one I ever bought myself was a Ricoh xr1, with a 50mm lens. Its a fully manual 35mm camera from 1977. That’s really where my passion for film photography started. Today it is still one of my go-to cameras.

Favorite film to shoot on?
I like to play with different film stocks. For 35mm I like Kodak Portra film, and Ektar. I also love shooting on expired fuji fp100c and polaroid spectra.

A$AP Rocky, 2019. Photographed by Wassim Farah

Who's been the most surprising fan of your work?
Hmm, probably anytime a creative person I’m a fan of likes my work it’s pretty mind-blowing to me. But if I had to pick one person it would be A$AP Rocky.

What are your top influences?
Its mostly just my environment, along with the culture or people around me. After that its fashion, movies, music.

Who have you photographed that's most likely to be an alien?
Probably Lil Uzi Vert or Yung Lean. I really want to photograph Ariel Pink though. I think he’s definitely an alien!

What have you been listening to lately?
There’s a cool 3 song project by Eyedress called Jealous, been listening to it non stop the last week. Besides that...

Spoonfed - Mandaworld
Bjork - Army Of Me
Leave Me Alone, pt. 2 - Cam’ron
Alice in Chains - Would?
Storm before the calm - Tom Misch has & Yussef Dayes
What kinda music - Tom Misch has & Yussef Dayes
Yung Lean - Violence
Paleda. - A Mi Me Juzgan Por Ser Mujer
Azaelia Banks - count contessa
The weekend - hardest to love

Breakfast or dinner?
If I’m making it myself, breakfast. It’s easy and fun for me. But if I’m eating out... dinner.

Jorja Smith, 2019. Photographed by Wassim Farah

For breakfast, If I’m in LA - Urth Cafe “Eggs Salmon” (GF toast, lemon mascarpone, fresh avocado, smoked salmon and wild arugula, topped with soft poached eggs, served with some fruits on the side) with a warm matcha Late.

If I’m in NY, Lovely Day - Seared salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, market greens, orange cream sauce. I guess I really like salmon, or a steak with roasted greens. Or a good gluten-free pizza or pasta! 

Alina Bobyleva for Siberia Hills, 2020. Photographed by Wassim Farah

Text: Jasmine Reiko
Photo: Zhamak the Cat

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