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LebanonPostcard presents the Book: Embodyments - Portraits of an Alternate Lebanon by Rasha Shammas (Preface by Ricardo Karam)


Have 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 this case.

As 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.

We 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.

Some 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.

However 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...

Rasha Shammas

Lebanon History 4000 Years, Historical texts, Greek, Roman Byzantine and Arab
Embodyments - Portraits of an Alternate Lebanon
Size 24 x 34 cm / 304 pages - Hard Cover / 18+ >>Extracts of the Book

Table of Contents


Embodyments Photographs

We are...
Flights of Fancy
In the Flesh
In Living Colour

Final words

Photo and Tattoo Artist Index

Who 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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The book may take between two and five days to arrive, according to the country it is sent to.

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