Monday, January 26, 2009

Vote for me in the Play & Orange talent competition

Dear friends and readers of the blog

As some of you know for the past year I have been shooting a photography book documenting the culture of Arabic Hip Hop around the world. I've gotten to travel to many places and the scope of the book has been growing since. I have shot hip hop artists from refugee camps in Beirut to performances and access to world famous groups such as Wu-Tang Clan all in the context of Arab hip hop. Yet I still have about a year and a half worth of shooting to do.

A radio station in Jordan in association with orange are doing a local talent competition with an award of $10,000 US, all you need to do is send a quick email and vote for me, if i get to win, this will allow me to continue working on the project since i paid for the whole past year from my own pocket, and it does get draining.

All you need to do is send an email to and say that you vote for laith majali. If you live in jordan you can sms 0777-102020 and write laith majali in the text.

Here is my profile on the contest's site.

Above is a slide-show showing select images from the project so far, watch it in high quality if you can.

Spread the word.

Thanks again for your support

Laith Al-Majali

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In the spirt of change

I've had about 25 rolls of film I shot since October that I just had the chance to scan. While going through the negatives I found images I shot during my visit to Elon in North Carolina at the time of the US presidential elections. So since yesterday was the day Obama got inaugurated i thought it would be good to post a number of these images.

The voting in the town took place at the fire station.

I shot the cover of USA Today throughout my stay

"...mass migratioin to mexico, luxemborg." A what if cover of Elon University's student paper The Pendulum

The cover of the Pendulum the day after the elections

"Change has come"
shot the tv while watching the elections.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Images from the Gaza Protest in Amman 9th Jan

The great photographer James Nachtway once said "I want my pictures to cut through political abstractions... and make a connection on a human level."
While shooting the anti-Israeli protest in Amman that quote was bouncing in my head. This was like no shoot I have done yet, I got a very mild taste of what conflict photographers experience while making pictures that are historical testimonies to what happens in our world.
The protest was peaceful for the most of it until it got a bit heated with the police and the protesters started throwing shoes, rocks and whatever was within hands reach.
The police reacted with tear gas and batons and pushed the protesters down the street. We got heavy with gas, women, children and men were running away affected by the gas, some took shelter in a close by mosque.
I still don't believe I captured images like these on the streets of Amman.

"No to an embassy, no to an ambassador, no relations with Israel."
The Venezuelan flag and a picture of Chavez made an appearance.
One of the big flags at the protest
Saddam made an appearance too
A father and his two kids in the tribute graveyard next to the protest
Alone in the midst of the tribute graveyard

The Israeli flag burned
Kids running away as things got heated upA general scene of the protestShe stood in silence as the men prayed in the midst of the protestThe riot police stood firm and their leaders controlled them well
The protesters also helped in keeping order
A strong line of riot police kept the protesters from moving on
I was trying to get as close as possible to the first line of the protest
As the violence started a woman moving away from the protest area
The police shield themselves from rocks
As the tear gas was dispensed the effects where felt by all
Onions were used as a way to soften the effect of the gas
The police also used water canons
One of the injured men
A line of police gets some rest
A protester holds a gas canister
An injured man gets taken to a car
Protesters put an injured man in a car
Another injured man carried away
The protest area after clearing it
A tear gas canister is dispensed

The rocks that were thrown damaged some cars in the areaProtesters throw stones at the police from atop houses

The last image I took before leaving
Should be developing the film pics soon, hopefully i'll get to post them.
A story featuring the pictures is posted on

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Portrait of Egyptian Comedian Ahmed Ahmed

Here is another one of the portraits I shot while attending the 2008 Dubai International film festival.

Ahmed's Bio from his website:

Ahmed Ahmed
- Born in Helwan, Egypt June 27th, 1970. Parents immigrated to the US when he was one month old and grew up in Riverside, CA. Moved to Hollywood when he was 19 years old to pursue a career as an actor and stand up comedian. Attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts for one year and studied with various acting coaches such as Cliff Osmond, Ivana Chubbuck and Sandy Marshall.

Seen in such films and television shows as Iron Man, You Don't Mess With The Zohan, Swingers, Tracey Takes On, Roseanne, JAG, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central and MTV's PUNK'D. Also appeared on CNN, The View, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and NPR. Was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal in December of 2001 and featured in Newsweek Magazine. Will be seen in the upcoming ONION MOVIE for FOX Searchlight. Currently can be seen on the Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD bonus track performing stand up comedy.

A paid regular performer at The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood and tours all across America and Europe. Winner of the first annual Richard Pryor Award for ethnic comedy at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in Scotland summer of 2004.

Wrote an original screenplay titled "The Pilgrimage" based on his Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca). He also co-wrote the script "Google Me" with comedian Erik Griffin.

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