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Meet Stephanie Galea

The enforced confinement of lockdown saw many strangely beautiful adaptations to the challenging circumstances. Photographer and fine artist Stephanie Galea produced the scorching images shown here for Vogue Arabia and Harpers Bazaar Arabia with the judicious placement of floaty backdrops and some planters up on the roof of her local residential block. “The weather was so hot during that early part of lockdown that we were able to work with the light and just improvise,” she remembers.

Galea arrived in the area nine years ago, having randomly spotted an ad on Gumtree. “I had no idea what Hackney Wick was, but I was searching for an alternative way of living and when I came here, I knew this was it.” The community spirit reminded her of village life growing up in Malta, something that lockdown then served to amplify. “Despite now living in a new build because all the studios are so expensive, Covid really brought all the new residents together. It’s all very Hackney Wick now,” she grins.

Meanwhile up on the roof, similar bonds and friendships were formed including on the Chanel shoot (pictured above). “Flo is a local musician and singer, not a model, and she is just such a nice personality to work with,” says Stephanie. “When people are so amazing and we all get along, then it all comes together on the day. That’s also very Hackney Wick.”

The Harpers shoot contains bold colours and knits while the requirement for Vogue was the interplay of modern and vintage clothing, including hats, around a sustainability theme (below). “I try to have a lot of joy and an element of humour in my work,” she reveals. “Things are too serious all the time, so I want to make my images bright and for them to feel more airy.” Opposite is a piece from Stephanie’s latest exhibition, Bodies in Colour, where she explores more personal topics through her art practice.”

“It’s a continuation of my 2019 black and white nude project,” she tells us. “I like exploring themes of femininity and nudity having been brought up in Malta in the hyper-religious, toxic frameworks of conservative Catholic guilt about the female body. The prints are first handmade in darkroom and then I paint directly onto them. Adding colour this time around was a reaction to lockdown; a focus on shape and form. A purely visual artistic expression of shape and colour.”

See more of Stephanie’s work at and follow her @stefgalea

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