Archive for the ‘People’ Category

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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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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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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Baby Benny & Dad

June 30th, 2011

Friends of mine, a couple, were not long ago blessed with the birth of the most adorable little boy. Now, the father is an accomplished photographer himself and so it was proving a little difficult to find him in front of a lens.

So eventually they asked me to make some portraits of their little family. And it was one of the most fun shoots I’d had in a long time.

Here are a few pictures:

All shots taken with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 prime lens, and lit (not always directly) with two studio lights, one of which was firing through my trusty Lastolite Hi Lite background and the other through a Lastolite Ezybox softbox.

More coming soon!

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Laqlouq Snow Walk

June 15th, 2011

Summer seems to have come upon us quite heavily here in Abu Dhabi. Got me thinking about the cooler times, such as earlier this year in Lebanon, where I had the chance to go on a snow walk for the first time.

The weather was starting to warm up earlier than expected and the mountain snow was turning a little slushy around noon, making skiing an unattractive proposition.

We went to a place known as Laqlouq, in Lebanon. We got there early in the afternoon, parked the car by the side of the road, put on the snowshoes and took off up the slope.

Below are a few pictures from that wonderful day.

The snows were already beginning to melt. And to melt quite fast. Just a few short weeks before, the entire mountain side was covered with snow, but the rocks were starting to reach out to the skies again…

As were some of the thorny wild flowers…

We were aiming to get to the cross at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, just meters from the top, I dropped my glasses! Had to watch them ski their way down the steeper slope of the  mountainside.

We headed down after them, and I ended up falling and sliding down a good distance myself. Got snow all over my lens… Halfway down we met two dogs, German shepherds, who eneded up following and playing with us all the way back to the car.

The light was fading fast as we headed back down to Beirut. The clouds hung low over the mountains, bringing fog as the air cooled and making for a spectacular sunset.

More coming soon!

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The Cowherds

June 10th, 2011

Hyderabad is a fantastic and interesting place.

We were lucky enough to have a great driver who doubled as a tour guide on my trip there. As we were driving on a highway, I spotted the ruin of a mosque rising up from the small buildings to the right of us.

I asked the driver to stop, and we entered the narrow streets and headed towards it. And there it was, around the bend. Absolutely beautiful. Overgrown with green. Small plants and flowers growing out of cracks. Hundreds of years old, by the looks of it. Neglected. Crumbling. Seeming forgotten despite the bustle of life around it.

The mosque turned out to be inaccessible. Walled off from all sides. The driver, a man in his sixties, told us that he used to come often to that neighbourhood as a child. But as sectarian troubles began to increase between Hindus and Muslims, gradually the Muslims left the neighbourhood.

Round the back of the mosque, we came across a herd of cows and goats, tied up and docile.

Turned out the Hindu family nearby were raising them. Also turned out that the family elder was our driver’s wrestling instructor when he was a child. They hadn’t seen each other in some fifty years. It was an extraordinary moment.

We got to spend a little time with the family, and eventually I was allowed to take pictures.

The elder:

The son:

Father & son:

I feel privileged to have gotten a glimpse at a different side of life in India. One not many people get to see.

More coming soon!

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One Year Later

May 20th, 2011

I know it’s been a bit light of late, but well… Today marks the second of two very special first anniversaries this week.

On the 20th of May 2010, along with a small group of friends, I hit Fisterra (or Finisterre). My Camino was over. My 900km trek – spanning 36 days of walking and totaling some 39 days – had come to a close.

On the 16th of May 2010, my 33rd day of walking, I entered Santiago de Compostella.

So this week I’ve been remembering so many of my wonderful experiences on the Camino and thinking of the family I made along the way. Not that a day has gone by without my thinking of the people who made it so magical.

Above, our Camino Family. Or a small part of it, at any rate.

There are many ways to enter Santiago. You can enter it on horseback, shortly after dawn:

You can enter it by bike, like these three matching ladies and their matching bikes here:

Or you could enter it on foot, which is what I did.

However you enter the city, you will be overcome with emotion. You will stop, in awe or shock or both, in the square in front of the cathedral. Perhaps you will stand in silence. Perhaps you will cry, because you can’t believe it’s over and because it is.

However after those first few moments pass, and you start meeting up with people you’ve met on the Camino, they will make way for joy.

On the 18th of May I departed Santiago and began my Camino to Finisterre. I was lucky. I walked with friends. That first night, I came across this entry written by a friend in a diary at an albergue in the town of Negreira. Brought tears to my eyes.

In the distance to the left is Cape Finisterre. The End of the World:

Our little family of pilgrims made their way to our agreed meeting point at the cliffs at the end of the cape, where we prepared for sunset.

After the sun had set, we set fire to the wooden dummy, dressed up as a pilgrim in clothes abandoned by pilgrims. We each tossed something into the fire. A symbol of our lack of attachment to material things, or of a promise to abandon a habit… As many reasons as there were people.

We have all since scattered to the four corners of the globe. And though I am quite bad at staying in touch, I have not forgotten. I miss you all.

Tonight I will be thankful, and I will celebrate.

More coming soon!

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Time Flies

April 14th, 2011

Time flies. It really does. Today marks one year since I took my first steps on the Camino de Santiago from St. Jean de Pied de Port in Southern France.

Memories of this extraordinary time have been flooding back at me of late. This is probably due to three things.

The first is that two dear friends are leaving this very day to start their own pilgrimages on the Camino. One of them is going for the second time.

The second is that I recently had the opportunity to watch The Way, an absolutely beautiful and moving independent movie by father-son duo Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, which follows an American father who travels to St. Jean to recover the body of his son who died on the Camino and decides to walk it in memory of his son.

The third, last but not least, is a small package which arrived in the mail just a few days ago. A prototype of a DVD project begun by Alexander Ruediger, a friend I made on the Camino and who turns out to be something of a celebrity in his native Austria.

I’m overjoyed to have had the chance to collaborate with him on the production of this beautiful DVD which offers impressions of the sights and sounds of the Camino de Santiago. I contributed a number of pictures to the project. I can tell you, I was so excited to see my pictures featured both on the cover of and on a DVD!

The DVD will be launching soon. You can find out more on www.camino-chillout.com. Unfortunately, my German is about as bad as my Chinese, so I can’t understand much of what’s featured on the website… Hehe.

More coming soon!

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The Coconut Vendor

April 9th, 2011

This portrait was made in Hyderabad, India, as I took a stroll in the early evening. Makeshift stalls were everywhere on the crowded streets, with vendors selling their wares as people celebrated the Makar Sankranti harvest festival.

To me this picture represents the innate kindness and generosity of people. The small kindness of strangers, and how the smallest of things – a smile – can allow people to open up to others. This lady initially tried to sell me some coconuts, and after a smile and a laugh were exchanged, she handed me a flower as a token of the festival season.

More coming soon!

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Sunset in the Desert

April 3rd, 2011

These photographs were made in Liwa at sunset, from the top of the massive dune featured previously on my blog here.

There’s nothing quite like a sunset in the desert. The view from the top of that dune onto the changing sands below… Well, the peace it instills in you adds years to your life.

More coming soon.

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