Category Archives: Photography

Lebanese Emilie Houwat Wins The First Edition Of ‘I am NatGeo Photographer’

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emiliehouwat via LorientLeJour

I Am a NatGeo Photographer is a reality show broadcasted on National Geographic Abu Dhabi. It features eight asipiring photographer from across the region competing in a series of challenges all over the UAE. “Their goal is to find that perfect photo until, in time-honoured reality-TV fashion, only one remains to be crowned the winner and see their work in the pages of the ­magazine”.

The first edition of this show has come to an end and it was a Lebanese photographer called Emilie Houwat who won. I haven’t seem the picture she took as I couldn’t find it anywhere, but I will update the post once I do.

Congrats to Emilie! You can check out her website [Here].

Check Out The EyeEm Market!

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Follow me on EyeEm Najib

For those of you who don’t know about EyeEm yet, it’s a photo sharing app that’s not just focused on photo sharing, but tries to connect like-minded users through the photos they take. It “combines the familiar ‘snapshots and filters’ approach with metadata that collects not just location and time for each photo, but contextual information like what a user was doing at the time”. What I always loved about EyeEm is that it doesn’t require you to crop your pictures and has some really cool filters.

One of the people who founded EyeEm and is still running it is a Lebanese called Ramzi Rizk, whom I had the chance to meet last year. Ramzi told me about EyeEm’s growth and some of the plans they are working on. Speaking of which, the next step for EyeEm at the moment is the EyeEm market which was launched a couple of weeks back. It’s basically a market where you remain the copyright holder of your images and make 50% net revenue from each photo you sell. If you want to know what are the types of pictures clients are usually interested in, check out this [post].

I think this is a smart step as it will encourage professional photographers to submit their photos and amateurs as well. If you want to know more about EyeEm, the best way is to download it and try it out. It is available for iPhone and Android.

PS: For those of you who haven’t joined yet and don’t want to upload all your Instagram images one more time, you can now connect your EyeEm account to the Instagram one and import all the pictures. It’s very easy and fast.

Hashem el Madani, Akram Zaatari and Saida’s Studio Shehrazade

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All Photos taken by Madani – via BBC

Lebanese Photographer Hashem el Madani has been taking pictures of Saida’s inhabitants over five decades and his archive contains some pretty unusual portraits like the one below. Apparently, it was common in Saida and probably in Lebanon in the 1950s to reenact movie scenes like a fight or a kiss, as long as it’s a kiss between two people from the same sex as the society was a conservative one. In the 1960s and 1970s and following the turbulent politics of the time, it became popular to pose with a gun. Madani even says that following Egyptian President Jamal Abdel Nasser’s death, it became fashionable to take pictures while acting sad. Baqari’s wife is one of the few pictures that caused Madani trouble.

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This pretty awesome archive was picked up by Lebanese video artist and curator Akram Zaatari, who described Studio Shehrazade as a “trove of buried treasure” and decided to partner with Madani and show his photographs to the whole world. He feels that he’s writing history through Madani’s pictures. Zaatari is also a co-founder of The Arab Image Foundation who contains more than “600,000 historic images of daily life in the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora”.

Madani is now 86 years old but doesn’t believe in retirement.

“Staying at home makes you bored and tired,” he says. “During the day I go to my studio and reminisce about the past. I am nostalgic and I want to relive those days. I much preferred it back then. I used to sleep for about four hours a day, and the rest of the time I would be working”. He still occasionally takes photographs, now on a digital camera.

He is proud to have been chosen for Zaatari’s research and happy that his work continues to be seen. He has accompanied the artist to major international exhibitions, but the project that has meant most to him personally is the Hashem el Madani Walking Itinerary in the old city of Saida where framed portraits of shopkeepers taken in the 1950s were “returned” to the original shops. “I would have liked to photograph all the residents of Saida, because this is where I live,” he told Zaatari.

Two young men from Aadloun. Studio Shehrazade, Saida, Lebanon, 1966. Hashem el Madani 2007 by Akram Zaatari born 1966

I am from a village near Saida yet I have never heard of this place. I will ask about it next time I visit and I hope they will turn Studio Shehrazade into a museum. If you are interested in checking out more pictures, click [Here].

You can check out the full BBC article on Madani and Zaatari [Here].

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Baqari’s wife (Here’s the story behind it: She took pictures without her husband’s permission. As a result he asked Madani to destroy the negatives but he only scratched them. Sadly though, the wife killed herself few years later, and the husband came back asking for prints from the photo shoot)

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Madani and Zaatari

The Associate Press Removed The New Government’s (Altered) Protocol Photo From Its Archives

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After learning of the photograph’s manipulation on Sunday, the Associate Press decided to remove the new Lebanese government’s picture from their archives and advised their customers not to use it. They also called the Photoshop “unacceptable”.

AP recently fired Pulitzer Prize-winning Photographer Narciso Contreras for altering a picture of a Syrian opposition fighter. Here’s a [Link] to the picture if you are interested.

Asked to comment about it on Sunday, presidential media adviser Adib Abi Akl said: “So what?” He said the official photos were sent to the media and “it is your choice to use them or not.”

Earlier, he said that according to the Lebanese protocol all the top three leaders – the president, prime minister and parliament speaker – have to be in the group photo. The first shot was taken with Berri and the ministers present, after which Berri, who was headed for Kuwait, had to leave for the airport. When the missing ministers arrived, the group stood again for a new picture without Berri, who was then added by Photoshop.

After learning of the photograph’s manipulation on Sunday, the AP removed the image from its archives and issued an advisory to customers not to use it.

“Adding elements to a photograph is entirely unacceptable and is in clear violation of AP’s standards,” said AP vice president and director of photography Santiago Lyon.

Nokia Lumia 1020

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I’ve been waiting for months to get my hands on the Nokia Lumia 1020 and it’s finally here. I love taking pictures and my Samsung S4 camera is one of the best I’ve used so far, but I doubt that it will match the 1020′s six-lens 41-megapixel PureView camera paired with a Xenon flash.

Stay tuned as I will be posting a full review next week. I will also be posting throughout the week pictures on my Instagram @LeNajib.

PS: Instagram is available for Windows Phones now. It’s called Instagram Beta.