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Hayati: A smartphone as a medium to express one’s own identity”:

Hayati, “my life” in Arabic, is an intimate photographic diary created entirely on a smartphone by Karim El Maktafi, in which the author reflects on his own identity as an Italian born from Moroccan parents. The photographer chose a smartphone, a medium he considers less intrusive than a camera. With this tool he creates suspended, enigmatic images that capture the sense of uncertainty, doubt and disorientation of those who live between two seemingly incompatible realities. Embracing a single status is not easy; feeling like an odd cultural hybrid happens often. Yet, while trying to define this identity, one understands the advantage of “standing on a doorstep”. One can decide who to be or where to belong, or else create new ties, keeping everything learnt along the path: more languages, more cultural taboos and references, more prohibitions to withstand and explain. Hayati explores some of these realities, using the photographer’s own life, family and friends as a case study, sometimes concealing their faces to respect their wish for privacy.

Born in Desenzano del Garda, Karim El Maktafi graduated from the Italian Institute of Photography in Milan in 2013. He has collaborated with several photographers in various fields and has then explored the concept of identity through reportages and portraits. His work has been presented in exhibitions such as the Brescia Photo Festival, the Festival of Ethical Photography, and YES Collective in Auckland. Hayati was realised between 2016 and 2017, during El Maktafi’s residency at Fabrica. It was awarded the PHM 2017 Grant – New Generation Prize, and is shortlisted for the CAP Prize 2017 – Contemporary African Photography Prize.

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