Ramzy Masri’s Radiant, Inclusive Universe

The media-agnostic designer reimagines our surroundings as a brilliant alternate reality, imbued with the mystical splendor of the color spectrum, where equality, empowerment, and inclusivity are the norm.

In the glory days of Instagram, predating the rise of influencers and sponsored posts, Ramzy Masri would journey far and wide across New York City to photograph colorful sights both spectacular and mundane. On the eve of Pride 2015, the self-described media-agnostic designer realized he could instead colorize existing images in Photoshop—a revelation that made sharing his visions much less labor-intensive. @space.ram soon took off, providing glimpses inside a brilliant alternate reality imbued with the mystical splendor of the color spectrum. He describes it as “a fantasy world that reclaims everyday spaces with queer energy, that extrapolates Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag as an immersive experience.” Brands such as Adobe and Bombay Sapphire have taken note, commissioning Masri’s chromatic touch for campaigns.

Following @space.ram is akin to constantly feeling the a-ha moments sprinkled throughout Golden Hour, the psilocybin-tinged opus by country-pop superstar and queer icon Kacey Musgraves. Suddenly, the colors start shimmering through the music—much like they ripple throughout Masri’s spectrum-edited images—and our surroundings start making more sense. To wit, a close-up of the Chrysler Building’s Art Deco spire forgoes its gilded sheen for ROYGBIV, an uncanny attribute it now shares with swaths of townhouses that blanket Queens, perhaps the most diverse place on earth. The takeaway is that we’re all human—inside, we all share the same colors. 

One of his most striking self-portraits, a collaboration with queer artist and photographer Matthew Dean Stewart, sees a back-facing Masri shrouded in a swarm of rainbow butterflies emerging en masse from an off-camera cocoon. “I was hiding in doubt ‘til you brought me out of my chrysalis 🦋,” he writes, quoting Musgraves’ hit song “Butterflies.” Retina-widening in its transcendence, the fluttery visual is pure magic, no doubt leaving Masri’s 125,000 followers awestruck. Masri’s message is one of empowerment and inclusivity: “My Instagram encourages the LGBTQIA+ community to take up space and be their most authentic selves,” he says. “For us, pride begins every day in the mirror.”

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