Magida El-Kassis: "you choose what you want to explore"
Magida El-Kassis finished two years at SPAO in 2009 and continued on for another year as a SPAO Artist in Residence.
“My greatest memory would be Michael Tardioli's mentoring,” says El-Kassis. “Such a great man with a huge heart and a true passion for art. I absolutely enjoyed his push and drive and inspiration.”
El-Kassis feels that photography was only one of the many things she learn at SPAO: “SPAO is the most unique experience I’ve ever had in a school environment. It is small, tightly knit, and almost a second family. You create art, feed off one another, and not only make high-end photographic pieces, you learn who you are as a person, and find yourself through intense training.”
Now splitting her time between Toronto and Ottawa, El-Kassis is working in many genres and formats including portraiture, landscape, architecture, shooting with 120, 35mm, and Polaroids.
“I am going to Lebanon in the fall of 2014 with a grant I received from the City of Ottawa, I just sold two pieces to the City of Ottawa's Direct Purchase, and recently—along with two past SPAO students—got a show in 2015 at Karsh-Masson Gallery.”
For El-Kassis, SPAO is for people with open minds who are seeking something unique: “It is an experience you will not get anywhere else,” she said. “If you want honesty, and a challenging experience, this is for you. You will be trained from a fresh eye, and you will notice how quickly your vision will adapt. From there you can choose what you want to explore.”