Photographer: Keetja Allard
Photo Editor: Jesse Dreyfus
Model/Agent: Sima Najjar Hijjawi

(Interview follows photo series)


“I know why Lawrence of Arabia walked like he did,” sighs Keetja Allard as she recites the laundry list of challenges she faced in producing the strikingly captivating series An Adventure in Petra, Jordan. “Riding camelback is really uncomfortable and made me incredibly nauseous,” being just one complaint. Add to that journeys by donkey, horse, jeep and a sixteen hour flight, and you start to get a sense of the difficulties and obstacles that had to be overcome. But then no one would describe Keetja’s working methods as conventional anyway.

After hearing that a close friend of hers had been invited to a art festival in Jordan (near the legendary locations where the original Raiders Of The Lost Ark was filmed), Keetja couldn’t resist inviting herself along. “I had about two days to find an affordable ticket and to pull clothes,” Keetja recalls. So she called her designer friends Electric Feathers and threeASFOUR, who eagerly obliged. With clothes in hand, pulled from her own treasure box, she still had to find the right model in a country that only had one fashion magazine and one modelling agency. So, after scrolling through the very “Bollywoodesque” models on the agency’s roster, Keetja instead convinced the model agent herself to do the modelling. “She was the only woman I met who could even remotely pull off what I was looking for,” states Keetja.

And when she’s asked about the hairdresser, makeup artist and assistants Keetja just laughs at the question, “No, it was just me, the model and a local Bedouin whom we befriended along the way.”