Zeitgeist: Mous Lamrabat

Each year the CR editorial team pick a number of photographers who have had a breakthrough year for our Zeitgeist series. Here we look at the work of ­­Mous Lamrabat, a Moroccan-born, Belgian-based photographer, whose images are a riotous clash of different cultures

Born in north Morocco and raised in the ­Belgian city of Sint-Niklaas along with his eight siblings, Mous Lamrabat’s distinctive style of photography is an exploration of being caught between two different cultures. His colourful images typically hone in on traditional Moroccan clothing such as the djellaba, combined with Western iconography ranging from Louis Vuitton’s instantly recognisable graphics to the McDonald’s ‘Golden Arches’.

“My background is basically being a ­Moroccan kid that tried to survive in the West. Inside our house you got transported to North Africa and forgot you were in Europe. And ­outside the house we wanted to join the cool kids with the coolest sneakers, who listened to hip-hop,” says Lamrabat.

Top: From a personal project, Organic Superhero, 2019; Above: The photographer’s cover shoot for the second issue of Nataal earlier this year is a tongue-in-cheek ode to souk style

While Lamrabat was always destined to end up doing something creative, photo­graphy wasn’t his first option. In 2009, he graduated with a degree in interior design from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in ­Ghent and had already managed to line up a couple of job offers off the back of it. Despite his ­career path apparently being set in stone, he decided to give it all up to take an unpaid role as a photographer’s assistant.