“Painting with the Lens…”
Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Ann-Christine Westerlund
Paul Zimmerman: You were married to Mousa for 25 years. Tell us about his background.
Ann-Christine Westerlund: Mousa was born 1946 and raised in a very artistic intellectual home in Cairo. His mother was a pianist and his father a lawyer who also translated many classic novels from English to Arabic. In 1970 he graduated from the International Business College in Cairo and worked at the semiofficial newspaper of Egypt Al-Ahram. In 1989 -1999 he was assigned to work in the New York office of Al Ahram North American edition. He continued to live in New York until he passed away 2017.
PZ: He was born and raised in Egypt. Did he recall his artistic experience there?
ACW: Mousa’s passion to photography started in a very early age. He bought his first camera 1961 when he was 15 years old to record his high school trip to Luxor and Aswan.
PZ: How did Mousa develop interest in photography?
ACW: When he worked at Ahram he always was very interested in learning from the photographers working at Al Ahram and about their cameras. Mousa was also a big camera collector.
PZ: What subject he was most interested in?
ACW: Mousa was very much interested in the Nature and the Beauty of the nature and landscapes from Central Park in New York to butterflies, dividi trees and ocean in Aruba and the forest and the sea in Finland.
He was also very fascinated by light houses and made a special trip to Nova Scotia in Canada.
PZ: As I understand he made his own prints.Why did it matter for him?
ACW: Mousa had several printers. His highly processed images are charged with a painterly atmosphere and he wanted to check out the color combination by printing
several versions of the same image and on different papers. Working for many years at Al Ahram newspaper he had also printing experience.
PZ: Some of his photographs remind paintings. Because they are printed on canvas, sometimes it is difficult to see the difference. Was he deliberately blurring the line?
ACW: For Mousa the beauty of the nature was very important and for him the camera lens was his brush to enhance the beauty. He called his photographs Painting with the Lens.
PZ: What was the most important for him in his artistic endeavors?
ACW: For Mousa it was very important to present to the viewers beautiful images of the nature by combining harmony, form, pattern, design and color.
PZ: One of his exhibitions was called A House of Light. Why did he choose this name?
ACW: Mousa was very fascinated by Light House and made a special cruise trip to New England and Canada to take photos of different light house and then
decided to call the Exhibition House of Light.
PZ: Where did he exhibit?
ACW: Mousa exhibited his work in New York, in Finland in the following cities Helsinki, Lappeenranta, Karis, Hanko and in Aruba in Carribbean
PZ: Do you plan to promote Mousa’s legacy?
ACW: Yes, I plan to promote Mousa’s legacy. I have organized three exhibits in Karis, Finland.
Together with Serge Gregorian at Artifact I have promoted Mousa’s work at exhibitions in New York, Miami and Los Angeles as well as in Monaco.
For me the Art events is good way to meet friends and make new friends and at the same time promote Mousa’s legacy.