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On a Monday morning Mona, Leon and Libertad met for coffee then

walked around the streets of Zamalek. Mona and Leon had their
cameras. Mona had an analogue camera loaded with a black and white
film and Leon had a DSLR. The purpose of this activity was to see the
images that would come out of this interaction and day spent together.
On Tuesday March 1st, after DISTANCIAS class, CCDCs research group
met in the small studio for Monas presentation. Her proposal was to
explore the translation of art using different art languages/forms, and
to delve into the creative process involved in them.
Mona laid out the photos in a corner as though they were in a museum
and asked the participants to pick one photo that appealed to them the
most and write a 6-word story. The story didnt have to be directly
associated with the photo, it couldve reminded the viewer with an
image, a memory, a longing, or it couldve elicited a certain emotion.
The task was rather challenging due to the limited number of words,
but as Leon said later, it is amazing how using a few number of words
can seem limited but actually opens up your creativity.
In some cases the first inspired words to be jotted down on paper were
sentences more than they were stories but that was OK since those
rare moments of inspiration dont come knocking everyday.
Libertad wrote down a few nouns and adjectives associated with the
photo and then started to formulate her sentence. She then changed it
to make it sound more like a story but expressed that the first
sentence, although not a story, was the more inspired out of the two.
The group lingered on the photo that Ibrahim picked as it aroused
opposing emotions and feelings among them. He wrote his story in
Arabic and Mona found it interesting to incorporate literal translation
as well (besides Art Translation). The story and the image got the
group discussing whether the photo was optimistic or morbid and
suffocating. The reason for that was because the two kids were stuck
at the end of the frame with the photo cropped right after them. Mona
stated that this exact photo was bothering her because there was too
much going on in the composition but found it both interesting and
relieving that Ibrahim made use of the empty chairs and cast them as
the protagonists of his story.
When Mona first read Ahmeds story, she thought it sounded like an
appropriate caption for a photograph; however, Ahmed went on to
explain his interpretation of it and what his story implied. It was
interesting that he thought Leon was a she and Libertad was a He. It is
also interesting that the group had no idea what was going on in the
photographers head when they took the photo and there is little to no
context to cheat from.
*Side note* I just corrected a punctuation mark while typing this and I
remember that Mona had given the group a tip to use punctuation
marks to be able to use less words.

Leon picked the same photo as Ahmed and at first Mona thought it was
gloomier than Ahmeds but after discussion it occurred to Mona that
they both shared similar sentiments about starting together and
ending alone, whether dead or alive.
It was so interesting to Mona to see her images through other peoples
eyes and hearts. I say hearts because she also got to know how the
images made them feel. The images act like mirrors and reflectors, but
isnt that the case with Art?
The photos were in black and white, which makes Mona wonder if the
stories would have been different had the photos been in color.
Another thing Mona noticed in the comments was the pointing out of
technical specs such as placing the subjects at the end of the frame, or
zooming in on the subject creating an illusion of a crowded street, etc.
To her, a photo just happens. Similar to life in general, there is always a
reason and a purpose for everything. Mistakes are good, perfection is
boring, rules are limiting, and possibilities are endless.
What she sees in real life and what she sees behind the lens are worlds
apart. And the photo is always a surprise.