mustafa sabbagh‘s philosophical visual poetry is clearly beyond subversive beauty, it is infectiously profound and provocative. sabbagh’s signature half light deliberately obscures the scenery to become a metaphoric place of contextless-ness in which uncertainty prevails. that uncertainty is precisely what is needed for sabbagh’s variation of investigation and exploration, the insightful kind of photography that reaches into your soul and connects you with the otherness of self. this lack of boundaries is what makes his characters so powerful and allow them to float into our consciousness. through his opaque light illusion he allows the subject to emerge rather than appear; a haunting method through which the viewer can look without seeing and realise without understanding. while his style may be heavily influenced by the art historical, his work embraces the contemporary with an array of hidden symbolism. i prefer to look beyond the content of fetish costume and the other devices he employs, to a very distinct quality of communication. although difficult to pin down, sabbagh’s images are for the most part stylised portraiture and aside from more fashion orientated work, he also creates a near cinematographic narrative by juxtaposing portraits with landscapes. to say that he injects his own brand of mysteriousness into the work would not be wrong but definitely inadequate; he not only mystifies the meaning in his work, but carefully reveals his characters in an ambiguously sympathetic way which plays on our own vulnerabilities and ideas of protection to become a challenging journey of discovery through his eyes.