Fadi BouKaram: The Photographer on a Quest to Visit Every Lebanon in the US

What do you get when you combine a Lebanese photographer and a thirst to explore? A project that sets out to visit every Lebanon in the US. 

That opening may sound like a set up for a joke without a proper punchline, but in actual fact, it’s the truth. Born in Beruit, Fadi BouKaram is no stranger to Lebanon. He grew up in the war-torn nation, where the only remains of many people are the photographs that survived them. Growing up, Fadi developed a deep-rooted passion for photography born in the most difficult of circumstances.

Meanwhile, across the North Atlantic is America; the self-proclaimed land of the free. But unbeknown to some, there is also a Lebanon in the world’s most powerful nation. In fact, there are 43 of them.

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ISO 400: Fadi BouKaram Talks About Street Photography in Beirut

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All photographs are copyrighted Fadi BouKaram and are being used with permission.

In this episode of ISO 400, we hear from a Fadi BouKaram, a street photographer based in Beirut and one of the founders of Observe, an international collective of photographers who recently had their first gallery showing in Iserlohn, Germany. Beirut has recently seen a spate of protests in response to all the garbage that has been piling up on its streets, and Fadi has been out there after work to photograph them. He is not, however, a photojournalist, so there’s no pressure to get his images published. This frees him to take a more nuanced and artistic approach to protest photography, which you can see here.

It was a workshop with David Gibson that proved to be pivotal for Fadi’s photography. He initially shot with long lenses on the street, and upon taking the workshop, he learned rather bluntly that he needed to shorten the focal length and get closer. In the years since, he’s always made a point to get closer.

The episode as well as a small collection of Fadi’s work is below.

If you’d like to see more of Fadi’s work, you can check out his portfolio on Observe and his Flickr page. You can also read his musings on photography on his blog.

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