AUB Alumni Art Expo

February 19th, 2013

Last week, on 15th and 16th February, the American University of Beirut (AUB) held its first ever Alumni Art Expo. It brought together work by over 60 established and emerging artists - painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramic and jewelry designers – from among AUB’s alums.

I was privileged to participate in the exhibition, with two of my two photographs being showcased. The two photos are below.

King Jimmy

 

This portrait was taken two years ago in a tiny village in Northern Spain, along the Camino de Santiago. It is of one of the people dearest to me. An extraordinary heart. And a man’s man. I captured this photograph some days after I’d first met him, when our friendship was still in its budding stages. There was just something about the way he stood, cigarette dangling, that seemed to call to the photographer in me. When I raised the camera to my eye and he looked up, it all just seemed to come together. Click.

The Little Light in the Dark

This photograph I’ve featured on my blog before, but here it is again anyway. This picture is special to me for many reasons (see here). Among them also is the sense of wonder I always get when I look at it. The clear blue of the water. The rising steam (the water was at a gloriously warm 40 degrees Celcius, while outside it was just 3 or 4). The light. The fact that my wonderful wife, all wrapped up in layer upon layer, had insisted on going out and exploring – on foot – the lake Myvatn area in Iceland, despite a raging fever…

Here is a review of the exhibition by lOrient-le-Jour newspaper (sorry guys, it’s in French). I’m particularly stunned and honored that the newspaper pointed to me as being one of two photographers it found of particular interest. 

You can find out more about the exhibition at AUB’s website here.

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The Switcheroo

November 28th, 2012

Earlier this summer, I shot a few behind-the scenes images at a wedding in the mountains of Lebanon.

After the ceremony, and just before the start of the start of the festivities, the bride snuck off to change out of her heels in favour of something she could easily dance in: a pair of (no doubt waaaay more comfy) Chucks.

I couldn’t resist taking the shot. I love the unusual contrast of the casual shoes with the skirts of the wedding dress, and the discarded outrageously high-heeled “my-feet-are-killing-me” platforms in the background.

More coming soon!

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The Guardian

November 22nd, 2012

This little guy sat in the same spot above my door for a few days, a warning to possible intruders.

It was quite tiny, measuring just a few centimeters, but that doesn’t make it’s sting any less redoubtable.

Not quite sure how it got there. I mean, yes, this a desert country, but I live in an apartment building…

More coming soon!

 

 

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Nap Time

November 15th, 2012

This shot was taken at Tawlet Ammiq eco-friendly restaurant by the village of Ammiq in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, after a delicious Saturday lunch in the Fall.

In typical Lebanese fashion, lunch was a social and multi-hour affair – by the end of which your belt needs to be loosened by several notches and you’re left pleasantly drowsy.

More coming soon!

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The Blue Cave

November 10th, 2012

If you asked me whether there is a picture of which I was proudest, this one would probably be it. Why? Because it’s the first picture that turned out better than I had imagined when I set out to take it.

Whenever I plan a shot and picture it in my head, it rarely comes out as amazing as I thought it would. However, with this one, I beat the image I had in my mind’s eye.

Another thing making it so special to me is that it’s the very first shot I took where I had composed the shot and selected all the settings manually and got exactly the shot I wanted on the very first try (if you’re curious, setting were f8, iso 200, 30s shutter, at 24mm). I had just the right look and feel I sought.

Interestingly, this picture came about rather randomly. We were driving around the Lake Myvatn area in Iceland, when we decided to go off-road. Not long after, we happen to be driving parallel to a massive sloping ridge of solidified lava and we notice the entrance to a cave (picture of the entrance below). So we decide to investigate. Just within, we find this beautiful, extraordinary cave, filled with hot, steaming, crystal-clear water (at some 38 degrees centigrade, while it was about 3 degrees outside). Perfect for a dip.

Turned out the little cave had two entrances, each leading to one side of the pool. So my wife sat wrapped up warm at one edge, while I made my way to the other end, set up my tripod and camera, and voila!

The cave entrance. How random is that?

More coming soon!

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Making Friends

November 5th, 2012

Some of the most extraordinary experiences I’ve had while snorkeling or diving have been with sea turtles.

They each seem to have very distinct personalities and generally extremely curious and playful. This seems to be true wherever I have encountered them (though off the coast of the UAE and Oman, the smaller turtles are generally skittish and won’t let you get too close, while in the Seychelles, they would often either ignore me completely or swim up to meet me).

I spotted this fabulous little guy swimming along the corals about 8 meters below the surface, off the coast of Grande Soeur (Big Sister) island in the Seychelles.

I swam down to meet it and together we circled back up to the surface, almost in a dance. I spent some 40 minutes or so swimming with this turtle, it seemingly as curious about me as I was about it.

More coming soon!

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Pumpkins for Everyone!

October 30th, 2012

Halloween is tomorrow. Have you carved your pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns yet?

If you ever wondered where this mainly American tradition of carving up a pumpkin into a lantern came from, and why these by turns funny, creepy, silly, lanterns are called “jack-o-lanterns”, click here. :)

The above shot was taken in the late afternoon at the fantastic Tawlet Ammiq eco-friendly restaurant, located near the village of Ammiq in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley.

Happy Halloween everybody!

More coming soon!

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Anemones

October 25th, 2012

These days, I seem to be increasingly turning my focus to underwater photography. Something about it makes it just so very attractive to me. Perhaps it is the challenge of shooting in this difficult environment, or perhaps the sense of wonder brought on by the alienness of the landscape and the life. And it must be said, the coastal waters of the UAE and Oman offer many opportunities for the adventurous.

Few species of life appear as alien as do anemones. These animals are named after the colorful terrestrial flower. They are carnivorous polyps which sting their prey – any fish which stray too close to their tentacles – with a potent neurotoxin.

These two closeups were taken some four to five meters below the surface about 10 minutes apart, during the course of a snorkeling session.

The first is a closeup of a type of anemone which is commonly home to clownfish (which, especially if you have kids, appear to have now been renamed “Nemo fish”). I love the purple tips.

I’m assuming these are a type of anemone as well. Any confirmation of this is welcome. These grow in massive domes reaching a meter or more in diameter.

More coming soon!

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Summer Sunset

October 20th, 2012

Clearly, I’m not yet entirely ready to let go of summer.

This young couple was deep in conversation, sat at the edge of the infinity pool, with the mountain range extending before them, bathed in the gorgeous light of the setting sun. What with the lighting (those colours!), the near-perfect symmetry of the scene (the wine glasses!), and the reflections in the mirror-like water, I couldn’t resist snapping away.

Seen at Montagnou, a great restaurant nestled high in the mountains of Lebanon, in the Ouyoun-el-Siman/Faraya area.

More coming soon!

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Seljalandsfoss

October 15th, 2012

Some moments resonate in our minds more than others. For me, this is one of them.

This shot was taken some time ago in Iceland, at the foot of Seljalandsfoss waterfall. The falls drop some 60 meters from the cliffs of what was formerly the southern coastline. It is among the most well-known waterfalls in Iceland and certainly one of the most beautiful.

One of the things which struck me in Iceland is the sheer quantity of waterfalls. In 12 days there, I daresay we saw more waterfalls than we did people.

But back to this moment. I perhaps have more beautiful shots of this waterfall, but this one remains my favourite. It was windy and raining. Certainly not the ideal conditions to shoot. It was our second day of driving around Iceland, and we’d been on the go since the morning, awestruck for the most part – Iceland has got to be one of the most beautiful, wondrous places on Earth.

A sense of wonder had been upon us since we landed at the airport, and a measure of peace had been gradually creeping upon us since. But I think I only realised how genuinely peaceful and happy I was the moment after I took this shot.

The person standing on the black sands in the foreground looking tiny beneath the waterfall, is my wife. When we first approached, she had rushed forwards and stood, arms spread, head lifted and smiling, in the spray at the foot of the falls.

Freedom.

More coming soon!

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