mahabis photo essay // homage to the golden age of egyptian cinema by omnia magdy

here at mahibis we love retro glamour and world cinema. but what is particularly significant about this photo essay is that the images inserted are all of egyptian film stars from the 1940s to 1960s, a time when egypt was a much more open place,  yet the creator of these pieces - a young female egyptian photographer named omnia magdy, never saw those times.

egyptian film stars soad hosni and ahmed mazhar dance in the classic laylet el zafaf (wedding night) circa 1966. the idea is simple and has been done many times before- inserting a picture over a models face and imitating the postures so they look like one at first glance. here the effect is thought provoking. magdy hasn't used any special effects or even attempted to hide her arm.


omar sharif made a huge impact on hollywood and international cinema, starring in films like lawrence of arabia, doctor zhivago and funny girl but he had an extensive resume in egypt before being discovered by the west. here, he is a simply young man on the streets of cairo.

the stern stare of 1940s movie star asmahan encapsulates the strong screen stars of the era. the golden years of egyptian cinema  were not all that different from hollywood, with glamour, good morals, happy outcomes and great wardrobes. the films were, of course, in arabic and popular throughout the middle east.


this striking composition uses screen sweetheart faten hamama, one of many respected actresses who began as bellydancers. she was also the wife of omar sharif.

above is beloved comedian ismail yassin. we love how the gestures match the face.

rather than a heavy political statement, the pictures are more about the circle of culture and constant exchange of ideas and philosophy in the land where civilized cultures are said to have begun.

you can check out more of magdy's portfolio on




Related posts