presents the Book: Embodyments
- Portraits of an Alternate Lebanon by Rasha Shammas (Preface
by Ricardo Karam)
you ever sat down to write a story? And when you start writing,
even though your intention is to write one thing, your mind's
flow of words takes you in a different direction, or more precisely,
on an unexpected tangent? That's exactly what happened to me.
When I conceived this project, I imagined it to be a small series
consisting of about 20 people’s photos. I envisioned them
as being nudes, all of whom had the most extraordinary beautiful
tattoos. Well, there's the old saying "Many a slip between
the cup and the lip!" and that certainly applied to me in
I started working, I found so many amazing people with outstanding
characters that I could literally feel myself itching to get my
camera. I was compelled to photograph them despite the fact that
they did not fall under my original requirement of having large,
fantastic, heart-stopping body art. They all still had tattoos
but each one of them had a distinct character and outlook on life
that they just had to be photographed - and I had to be the one
to do so. As time passed and I continued working, the tattoos
that they displayed on their bodies blurred out of focus. Instead,
my depth of field increased to incorporate their tattoos in a
unifying theme, but what I found myself shooting was a character
study. I was exploring another aspect of Lebanese Life that we
sometimes take for granted. What you see here is the result.
are a people of contradictions: deeply passionate and opinionated,
highly cultured and modern. Yet the other side of the coin is
that we can sometimes be seen as fractious, violent and stuck
in a world with traditions that belong in a history book. The
reality is this: what we are in our everyday life is very different
from how we are perceived, especially by the outside world. It
is my hope that seeing everyone herein photographed will help
to change some of those opinions, merely by the action of having
seen them in a different light.
of you may find the subject matter abhorrent since tattooing is
definitely not for everyone. Others may view the nudity, and the
risks that I took, with my sometimes unsubtle approach to be insensitive.
I have always been very careful to be artistic and not pornographic,
since I have no wish to be chased by angry parents, husbands or
possessive significant others. I have always felt that less is
more when photographing the nude human form.
you may feel, I hope, no matter what you think, that you have
a strong opinion. After all, isn't that what an artist aims for?
So open up and enjoy the provocation...
Embodyments - Portraits of an Alternate Lebanon
Size 24 x 34 cm / 304 pages - Hard Cover / 18+ >>Extracts
of the Book
Flights of Fancy
In the Flesh
In Living Colour
and Tattoo Artist Index
is Rasha Shammas:
Lebanese born, Rasha Shammas has been a full-time artistic photographer
since 2004. Her first exhibition, perspectives, took place in
June 2007 to positive reviews. Since then she has continued with
her photography working for magazines such as Noun and doing private
portrait sessions for select clientele, both individual and corporate.
She now continues to display her talents to the world with Embodyments,
her first large scale studio series and second major showing.
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