Name: Elsie Haddad
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Brief artists statement
Born January 1982,
Took part in different collective exhibitions (Entr’actes -part of Beirut: Past & Present event, 24/7 Campaign, The Day Of The Disappeared, The House Of Frida), collaborated on various projects, organizing and giving workshops as well as teaching photography at different Fine Art schools.
How did you become a photographer? Did you always dream of a life as a photographer?
I was always intrigued by the camera, and when I was very young I saw once on T.V. a movie about photography, I was fascinated by the dark room and the way they process photos in the lab. I wanted to learn all that and thought that I would become a photojournalist. Later on, my carrier took different turns and I became more and more driven towards personal projects and self-expression through photography.
Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?
I do not consider myself an artist. I like photography and I like to take pictures, it helps me connect with the world and feel things on a closer level. I don’t have a specific routine, I am more of an instinctive and moody person…I go through a phase where I don’t touch my camera for a long time while sometimes I find myself involved in different projects at the same time.
What are you currently working on?
I just finished a photography project about old shops in Beirut; It will be published in Inge Morath online magazine in early 2012 so I’m editing it. I’m working on a project about this small group of people who spend their time by the sea during the whole year, as well as revisiting some old unfinished work.
How does your culture influence your work?
If you mean by culture the knowledge that I inherited from my studies and experience, I have to say that it’s all coming from the West, and this plays a major role in creating a westernized point of view on issues and problems in my society. I am aware of this and it’s very hard to find this thin line of keeping the authenticity of my approach towards the subject I’m working on…it’s more important to me that the outcome of the work would be accessible to the people involved before any other potential audience.
What are you looking to convey through your images?
Nowadays it’s very easy to do a beautiful photo. For me aesthetical awareness is not enough to make a good photograph. We’re in a stage where advanced technology is used to create well-made, sharp and appealing images but they lack content…whether I convey a feeling, an impression, or a rational idea through my images, they have to have human values.
Which photographers do you refer to most often? How are you influenced by their work?
William Klein; as an innovator in documentary & fashion photography.
Larry Clark; as a daring photographer who portrayed the juvenile delinquency in a very powerful way.
Sophie Calle for her autobiographical work.
Joseph Koudelka; silent war photographer who doesn’t really refer to himself as a photographer.
Robert Capa; for his devotion and big heart. He gave photojournalism new political and humanitarian dimensions.
In what ways do you get your work out to the public?
I have a blog though I’m not really updating it lately. And I try to find the right venue or place for each project I want to exhibit.
Finish this rhyme: Images are… very powerful and impactful yet they’re very abundant, so we should always know how to look.