A couple of years ago I came across a body of work by French photographer Denis Dailleux that featured Egyptian bodybuilders posing with their mothers. Recently these photos have been making the rounds on tumblr and again they have me captivated.

As I look at each picture, I want to know more about the subjects. I find my mind wanting to create my own back stories to accompany these captionless pictures. Who are these men? I wonder what stories and wisdoms would these mothers share if asked?

The exposed torsos of the shirtless sons contrasting with their veiled mother’s adorned with hijabs, niqabs or burqas; draw focus to traditions within Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures. The faces of the mothers convey a sense of nurturing, pride and strength while the sons — even with their imposing physiques — display tenderness in the presence of the women who brought forth their souls.

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Photographer Denis Dailleux was born in 1958 in Angers, France. He has published a series of photography books all portraying Egypt, Cairo and his impressions of the revolution. His photographs have been exhibited internationally in Paris, France, Accra, Ghana, and in Siem Reap, Cambodia among other places.