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Why I’m Gah Gah For Sarah Bahbah

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DePaul chapter.

On behalf of a new system from Her Campus Nationals, editors must select from a specific HC photo gallery in order to prevent copyright issues.

Young creative, Sarah Bahbah (27), started her career by persisting that she be given a job as a photographer at music festivals, such as Firefly, even though she was only a first-year fashion student. As a fellow creative, I resonate with Bahbah’s persistence and ‘will-not-take-no-for-an-answer’ type attitude. For example, as a sophomore in college, I forced my way into a ceramic art class even though the class was supposedly “full.” Since I was passionate about learning how to create ceramic pieces, I found myself a seat at the table simply by pulling up another chair.

Palestinian-born and Australian-bred, Bahbah began her global career by capturing the eccentric, candid intimacies of young festival goers in her photo series The Wild Ones.

The Wild Ones

Like most artists, Bahbah evolved and naturally developed a signature look within her work. She often captions her photos with subtitles at the bottom, creating a ‘film still’ photographic storytelling style. The subtitles are usually laced with sarcasm and candor, which makes her work relatable yet introspective. Her photos elicit raw emotions and promote complete transparency with oneself and others. In her photo series For Arabella, Bahbah invites women to take pride in their emotions and feelings of sexual pleasure and to avoid self-censorship. “I want to see women feeling comfortable in owning their desires and indulgences. I hope my work inspires emotional freedom.”

For Arabella

Bahbah’s work brings me to my knees because each photo series encapsulates her experiences of specific traumas and trouble, specifically child abuse — which is what her series I Could Not Protect Her centers around. Bahbah’s photo series also center around heartbreak, love, boredom, and female friendships. Each series is a story told by Bahbah in photographic form, “the storylines tend to be experience led, from dreams of mine, or events from my parallel universe. When these ideas come, it’s often words first and visuals second; hence the subtitles in my work, which leads to what has been described as a cinematic feel.”

I Could Not Protect Her

Currently, Bahbah displays 14 photo series on her website. Her most recent project, Think About You, involved writing and directing her first music video for Kygo, a Norwegian DJ. This was a change in pace for Bahbah, by turning her ‘film still’ style into moving picture. The music video stars Khadijah Red Thunder and Dylan Sprouse in a romantic yet troublesome relationship as the female protagonist begins to feel smothered by her love interest’s obsessive behavior towards her. Bahbah’s creative signature style remains constant even when applied to different mediums, so the music video was as inspiring and introspective as ever. There is no current news of Sarah Bahbah’s next project, but I sit on my hands and tap my feet anxiously in anticipation.

Think About You

Her Campus editor and DePaul senior with an Organizational Communication major.