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.

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