Sunday, December 28, 2008

Portrait of Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad

Finally I got to shoot a portrait of Palestinian poet Suheir Hammad, one of my favorite Arab artists. I discovered Suheir's work while i was in college. My roomate got me hooked to watching a show called Def Poetry. The show which is presented by Mos Def , featured spoken word artists performing their poems.

Also since starting my photography project on Arab hip hop, her name kept on coming up in conversations with many artists who cited her as one of their influences in Arab hip hop. My curiosity grew about Suheir, and two weeks ago while attending the Dubai film festival i ran into her. I was late to a meeting, i was running, sweaty and out of breath and at the entrance of the hotel i see my friend Ann-Marie Jacir, a Palestinan film maker and with her Suhier, who also happens to be acting in Jacir's film "Salt of this Sea." Quick introductions were made and later on i got to arrange to shoot the portraits.

One of my most enjoyable shoots.

Suheir's Bio:

Suheir Hammad is a Palestinian-American poet. She was born in Amman to refugee parents and immigrated with her family as a child to Brooklyn, New York City when she was five years old. Hammad's first collection Born Palestinian, Born Black was published in 1996, followed by Drops of This Story. Her latest collection is ZaatarDiva, and her forthcoming work is entitled 'breaking poems'. An original writer and cast member of the TONY Award winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, Hammad is a 2007 Copeland Fellow at Amherst College. Her theatre
project 'breaking letter(s)' premiered this April, produced by The New World Theatre.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Portrait of French Actor Sami Naceri

While at the Dubai Film Festival, i got to shoot a quick portrait of french actor Sami Naceri, known for his roles in Taxi, Indigenes and many other French and Algerian films.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Portrait of Lebanese director Chadi Zeneddine

I shot this recent portrait while Chadi was in Amman last month. Chadi Zeneddine will be directing "Barbershop Trinity" the next film project I am working on. Quite a talented young director, can't wait to collaborate with Chadi.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slingshot Hip Hop comes to Dubai

Slingshot Hip Hop is a beautiful documentary about Palestinian Hip Hop and is directed by my dear friend Jackie Saloum, It's part of the reason i am shooting my photography book on Arab Hip Hop. I have followed the film in Sundance, Amman and now Dubai. It showed to over 700 people and after the screening, the Palestinian group DAM, Kanaan from PR and Narcy from Iraq performed for an hour. I was there to document the show and here are some images coming to you directly from Dubai.

Palestinan actor Ali Suleiman (Paradise Now, The Kingdom, Body of Lies) was also out supporting the film and i snapped a quick shot.

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Images from the opening of the 2008 Dubai FIlm Festival

I am currently attending the Dubai Film Festival so I thought i'd share some images i shot at the opening ceremony. The opening film was Oliver Stone's "W"
I'll try to upload some pictures that i capture throughout my time here so keep an eye out.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Man on Bike

Shot this while i was in Paris in July, I love when a panning shot turns out as I wanted.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Going Dutch

Back to my Arab Hip Hop project, in July i went to Holland and for 4 days, were I had full access to the life of one of Holland's top rappers, Salahedin. The experience of shooting with a Moroccan artist who has made it big in Europe was amazing and at the end of it Salahedin surprised me by taking me to meet and shoot with WU-Tang Clan, the world's top hip hop group.

Below are some pictures and an excerpt from the article the photo essay that appeared in NOX magazine last month.

Salahedin at his home studio.

Salahedin meets with the youth of his old neighborhood.Method Man of WU-Tang backstage
RZA again.

Salahedin and Method Man in the green room.

July 10th, 2008
After a five-hour flight to Paris, I take the train to Paris Nord station where I meet Jordanian oud player Elia Khoury and his brother Basil. We wolf down a very quick Micky Dees
before immediately heading off to Rotterdam on another train to meet Moroccan-Dutch rapper Salah Eddine. The ticket costs somewhere around $140, which makes me
reminisce about long-distance services to Damascus for a tenth of that price, and requires a change at Brussels and another four-plus hours of sitting on my backside. If I get there before midnight I will be doing extremely well. The train is painfully slow, with an infuriating number
of stops – aren’t trains meant to be fast? I do my best to kill time by snapping the sunset from various locations I’ve never heard of – like Mechelen. Even when I get to Rotterdam, late and dog tired, I have to negotiate yet more public transport, this time an inner city
tram to Leiden – cost: $10 – and the ride is hideous, with drunk Dutch guys playing terrible country music out of tiny mobiles. Once in Leiden, it’s another train to Alphen, where Salah lives. I get to Alphen and decide to take a cab. I finally knock on his door at 1am. I have been travelling for 16 hours. Despite my desperate desire to see a pillow, Salah and I talk until 4am while listening to tracks from his new album Horr – with his narration layered over the top like a DVD special feature. Both are thrilling to hear, proving that the Arab hip hop scene will be experiencing a genuine revolution when it is released. His voice is confident and trustworthy, growing on you by the second, and with the additional touches of Arabic samples, it transformsthe audio experience into a cinematic one. It is a privilege to be among the first to hear it.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Recent portraits I shot

I haven't showed much work lately because I have been spending most of my time in airplanes and airports. Also my hard drive on my macbook crashed and burned. So slowly I'm rebuilding my photo library from the backups.
I'm posting a couple of portraits i shot in the past couple of months. Enjoy!

Director Spike Lee, Abu Dhabi

Jackson Allers, a friend and a journalist based in Beirut.

Here are also 3 shots from a recent shoot for my Arab hip hop book i did with a graffiti artist in Dubai.

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