We are a few hours away from the onset of the New Year here in Germany. It has been a testing year, a learning experience and a good platform for what is to come next. I feel a strong sense of hope thinking of 2016 and a renewed feeling of inspiration. Thank you for having been there, my family, my friends, my fellow photographers, my much admired artist community, and everyone who has taken part in this journey here with me. You make my world brighter!
A lot of exciting things planned for 2016 artistically. More soon…
Candid street photography is perhaps my very favorite style when I am out in the streets. Anywhere I travel, I find myself drawn to the human element in the streets and I search for a human connection to create my photograph and my story.
I am often asked about the process of candid portraits and if I were to offer 7 tips it would be these:
Take your time. Often and if the time allows, I try not to do any photography on my first day in a new place. Instead I try to feel the place, walk around, look, listen, observe, admire and investigate.
Slow down. When I walk, I try not to feel any anxiety about having to capture anything. I wait for the inspiration to come to me because I have discovered that it cannot be forced, like all good things in life.
Be polite. I always try to reverse the roles and see how I would feel if someone came at me with a camera aggressively and tried to photograph me without my permission. I am most certainly going to be closed to that intrusion. Instead I smile, I make eye contact and I show genuine interest in my subjects. I back off if unwelcome.
Be prepared. The last thing you want to be doing when seeing a moving moment is to be fiddling with your camera settings and getting flustered. I check my camera before going out, I make sure I am ready for the light conditions and the style of photography I am aiming for.
Be open. Sometimes I might have an expectation as to what I want to photograph on a certain walk, but I am always open to whatever else my inspire me. Patterns, movement, architecture… but being open is much easier said than done and takes a lot of practice.
Take more than one shot. In the digital age, we have the luxury of having room for experimentation. I remember back in the 90s when I was using film, how careful I was with each single frame knowing that I had a limited number of shots before I had to change film. Nowadays, you can take your shot at different angles and make multiple compositions to get the shot that you really want.
Have fun. It is such an incredible joy to me being in the streets, around people, doing what I love doing the most. If you are not enjoying it, you might as well find something else to do 🙂
These are some of my favorite street portraits that I am currently featuring on my instagram feed.
There are now over 1.2 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon in camps waiting for a better home under the care of humanitarian organizations and NGOs. The children carry the hope and strength of their whole nation.
Sometimes life invites us into a brief interlude between the folds of time. There we see beyond the obvious, we feel more deeply and we re-evaluate our lives and where our importances lie. The past month has been just such a life changing happening and as I emerge trying to find the end of a thread I let go of, I find that a whole new selection of threads present themselves to me. I pray that I may choose wisely where to get back on the train we call destiny.
Photographs taken during the past month in Germany, Lebanon and China
Lady on her balcony in the area of Borj Hammoud, Beirut
I left my native Lebanon to New York City back in 1987. The war was still raging and the political and economic situations were highly unstable if not volatile. Today, almost 27 years later, the Lebanese struggle with rationed electricity, unstable economic and political situations, living on the brink of another war, receiving a flood of refugees from another neighbor and the only difference from then to now is how much thicker the pockets of our political leaders are getting. Corruption is their religion and money their God. How will the web of greed be ever dismantled?
We find ourselves on a planet of duality; where there is day, there is also night; we wake up only to then sleep; we feel happiness only to be followed by sadness; and where there is life, there most certainly will be death.
And we feel that life is sometimes unfair, unjust and we wonder why the timings are all wrong and the big question rises in us: “what if?”. We desperately try to reverse time, to wish we had taken one step differently, that we had made a different decision, and it leaves us wondering if destiny is pre-written. We turn to religion for answers, we question our creator, we get desperately angry, then we sink into a bottomless pit of sadness, only to surrender and then move on trying to lift our head high and catch the thread of life we tossed to the side when tragedy met us.
And looking back at my posts from the week before my beautiful young brother died in his tragic accident, there were most definitely subtle signs to prepare me for this. The titles and natures of my images spoke volumes to me before the event.
“It’s later than you think” whispered the ghost of tomorrows lost~
This post is in honor of George Kheir, my departed young brother, a wonderfully warm, humorous, bursting with life and generous man who left a kind and beautiful family behind. May his soul rest in peace and go to where it was destined to be.