A few years ago, a new photographer entered the scene. The images immediately stood out on magazine covers and billboards. They possessed an ethereal quality that made the background look as magical as the subject, leaving us all mesmerised. The mood was just different. It’s safe to say that Mahira Khan, Zara Peerzada, and now Ayesha Omar have never looked this good. Imagine our delight when we found out that the creative genius behind the lens was a woman!
In a field dominated by men, Muzi Sufi’s work shone brightly and now she’s in hot demand. Here we speak to Sufi about motherhood, making it in a man’s world and how she’s picking and choosing her next projects.
What are you doing with your life and career right now?
I just took a year off because I had a baby, so I’m slowly getting back into things. I don’t want anything too hectic right now, and it helps that I’ve moved out of Pakistan so I can be extremely selective about who to work with, whenever I go back.
You’re breaking into an industry that in Pakistan has so far been dominated by men. How does that feel?
Really fabulous! I love being able to pull off what I’m doing. I can honestly say it’s much more difficult being a girl. You don’t feel it until you really start going commercial – some people refuse to take you seriously or can’t get their heads around the idea of a girl incharge of things. A lot of people and clients have been great, but I have been spoken to in ways that makes me feel like the “lesser gender” or worse – a child! It’s scary for me because I find it difficult to be firm with people I don’t know, and sometimes that is the only way to work around it.
When did you start learning photography and what made you pursue it?
Summer 2009! I had just moved to Lahore and knew no one. I was aching for a form of expression and found solace in portraiture and developing my thoughts into something visual, and eventually found a specific niche that i loved so much that I decided to make a career out of it.
How long have you been into photographing celebrities?
For me, it’s about the art and creating something beautiful. The subjects are professionals who have experience in channeling certain looks and understanding my direction when it comes to creating a mood. It’s not just celebrities. Some of my personal favorite photographs are of friends and family.
Which one has been your most memorable shoot?
I don’t have just one, but I think the one I often recount is my first shoot in Karachi. It was for Hello Pakistan with Natasha Khalid and we made Neha Ahmad into a glittering siren on the beach. The amount of hilarious things that happened really gave me an insight into how different our productions can be compared to the likes of international photographers, especially with the additional disadvantage of collecting sleazy crowds.
If you could photograph any celebrity in Pakistan, who would it be and why?
I’ve already photographed everyone I’ve wanted to photograph in Pakistan.
If you could shoot any celebrity in the world, who would it be and why?
Rachel Weisz, Penelope Cruz, Emilia Clarke – I think they’re all so beautiful!
Tell us about your career goals? Anything new and innovative coming up?
I just took a long break, so I’m enjoying inching back into things. I have another tangent I want to branch off into, but nothing set in stone so I don’t want to talk about it yet.