Lebanon is known worldwide for its cuisine, music and political unrest! The name Lebanon derives for (laban (milk) and ‘an’ means two times), therefore the country between to white peaks. The most interesting fact about Lebanon is that there are 4 million Lebanese living in Lebanon, 1 million Palestinians living in Lebanon and 9-10 million Lebanese living in Brazil! Its a small, beautiful country with a diverse range of people, Muslim, Christians, Drews etc (around 18 religions in total). Most people don’t speak English, so make sure you’ve got a basic understanding on Arabic or French!
Downtown Beirut feels confusing. On one end, it hosts beautiful newly erected french and Moorish architecture, which are mainly deserted, except the ground floors, with cafe’s and designer shops. On the other hand as you ventured deeper into the old town, it seems like a war zone, with old bombed and gunned out buildings still remaining.
Two hours north of Beirut lies the ski town of Faraya in Mzaar. The slopes are full of non-resident Lebanese, Arabs from the Gulf, Russians, Americans and Brits living in Dubai, who come to spend Christmas skiing and snowmobiling. On the other side of the country lies Sidon (South Lebanon), known as the Hezbollah strong hold. The contrast to Beirut and Faraya couldn’t be greater. Sidon hosts some of the sexiest old cars, most friendly people, and an amazing old local souk in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Lebanon’s Palestinian camp is located in Sidon (although not open to visitors) and it was the South of the country, that was greatly affected by past Wars.
Lebanon is recommended for anyone wanting to see an unfamiliar side to the Middle East, a country of contradictions unique to the region.
Migrant Workers, Hamra
American University of Beirut
A View from W Hotel, Beirut
Snowmobiles & Sunset over Mzaar, Faraya
A kurdish tourist
Palestinian Sweet Seller, Sidon, South Lebanon
Sidon, South Lebanon
Grocery shopping in Sidon
Looks like someones in trouble
Fattoush - A popular salad dish
48 Hrs in Dhaka
Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital – is the worlds most densely populated city, with a population of more than 8 million. As you dig deeper into the countries reality, you realize that most of Bangladesh’s weaknesses are due to this very fact !
Shot in 2012 (Dhaka)
A heavy business tourist
Stitching Factories dotted around Dhaka
Breakfast - Chapati
Old Dhaka / Puran Dhaka
An old women in an Old Dhaka beautiful building
Student Housing in Old Dhaka
Orphan Child Workers in Old Dhaka
Grooming in Old Dhaka
Spice Trader at the old Bazaar
River Side Stalls
The filthiest river I have ever seen
Tricycle in old Dhaka
Bangkok is a city I yearn to revisit one day! 24 hours just wasn't' enough to even understand this complex city. Being one of Asia's largest cities, it has what you would expect from a mega-city - traffic jams, people and more people, serious consumerism, pollution - but best of all, it has some of the worlds most amazing food!
Salma & MohamedHussein
Grateful to have been part of Salma & MohamedHussein's beautiful marriage. Given the couples mixed cultural backdrop - the faces, music and ambience of the wedding was to be remembered.
Hennah | Akhid | Receptions | Dar Es Salaam, 2013
Brides mother and sister in law stressing before the arrival of the Bride
The couples mothers
Salma checks herself out before entering the hall
Salma sneaks a smile at me amidst a bombardment of flash and video lights
The groom rushing to his bride
In Islamic weddings, the groom must recite a verse from the Holy Quran the first time he sees his wife after their Akhid (Marriage ceremony)
The groom unveils his wife
My teammates (not)
The grooms family
One Day in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the seventh largest city and eighth largest metropolitan area of India.
I accompanied my husband on a business trip to the city and had low expectations from all the bad publicity I had gotten from my Guju friends. Thankfully, the city was simply crowded, busy, noisy, filled with history, and made it a great city to shoot in!
A Wedding In London
London's that sort of city where you just can't help notice the number of nationalities that call this city their home. These are images that I captured on my x100t whilst attending a multicultural wedding of Turkish & Tanzanian families.
Hennah, Akhid & Reception | London, 2016
Arab Wedding in Tanzania
Arabs have been coming to the coast of Africa for hundreds of years. They have assimilated very well into Tanzania, and especially to its coastal culture to a point where they longer converse in Arabic, but the language of Swahili.
These photos are from a wedding Akhid and Hennah that I shot in 2011. They're special for me because they are deeply personal images of Arab women in Tanzania you would not otherwise get to see. The Akhid was shot in extreme low light, high traffic conditions at the Bride's grandmothers. I don't prefer to use flash as it allows me to keep discreet and assimilate into the guests. The air was filled with smoke from burning Oud that engulfed the atmosphere. A truly private affair - and a definite photography highlight for me.
The second event was the Hennah. This is an important event for any Arabic wedding and it is held before the Akhid. Traditionally the bride is covered so that her to-be husband can only see her after the Akhid. There is a Hennah basket that is brought by the grooms family and danced to by all the women of the family, in celebration of this day.
The Hennah comes to and end when the groom arrives. The adult females of both families dance with him and sit him down for a Hennah application, where he is rubbed Hennah throughout his face. Lastly, the grooms sisters dance and throw their hair at the groom before he leaves.
Given Sri Lanka’s war past, the island is still struggling to recover itself from the tarnish and your average traveler would not even consider the island as a destination. Ironically, it is one of the most spectacular islands of the Indian Ocean by all means. It has a vast history dating thousands of years visible through its architectural heritage, a colonial past that is still reminiscent on the islands culture; an unbelievably pristine coastline and tea that’s worth every slurp!
Orphans of Malawi
"Open Arms is a charitable organization that works to give a Malawian Orphans the chance to grow up within a loving family environment and the security of a home".
For more information visit www.openarms.org
Images used in Open Arms 2011 Calender.
Feeding The Streets of Dar Es Salaam
Mama Nitilie (Literally means – ‘Mother Put it for me’) and refers to women who serve food on city streets across Tanzania.
Penina Paulo, 24 (origin: Songea) and her aunt Saada Hassan, 40 (Lindi) - cook to make a living. In Dar Es Salaam’s ever changing downtown area, they occupy a small corner of a deserted piece of prime property on Jamhuri St, that is soon to become a skyscraper. The sun is excruciatingly hot, but they have no where else to cook.
Before entering the cooking business, Penina worked as a housekeeper in Bagamoyo after finishing grade seven in 2007. Her boss then enrolled her into stitching classes where she found employment paying her TSH 2000 a day. Things didn’t work out and Penina moved in the big city to start a business. She’z been selling food for the last two years and tells me business isn’t too bad.
Before her divorce, Saada used to spend her time at home cooking, and looking after her three children. For the last four years however, she also works on the streets first selling Uji (a warm drink make of sugar, flour), then serving breakfast, and now partnering with her niece serving lunch.
Now that the 2010 Tanzanian elections are close by, Penina tells me they haven’t been hassled by government officials for the last few months. Before this however, having their utensils broken and stolen was a normal occurrence.
Their menu is kept the same – spinach, beef stew, beans, ugali, rice and dagaa (dry local fish). Penina and Saada buy their ingredients before they come into town from Kariakoo, as its much cheaper then sourcing it from the near by vendors downtown. Cooking starts at 10am and by 12.30 they move locations, nearer to shops and construction sites (where their customers work) to deliver and serve meals.
A plate of mixed dishes sells for TSH 1000, and Saada tells me that all the lunch stalls in town agree to a fixed price so there is no price competition. Customers come to them for different reasons, but mainly taste, delivery and friendship. Saada and Penina serve around 25 customers on a normal day, and upto 30 customers on a good day. They tell me business is really slow at the moment but they can’t figure out why. Each day Saada & Penina are able to make TSH 3000 to 5000 each.
[Shot in 2009 with Canon 500D]
A showcase of subjects that interest me -
Street | People | Places | The Everyday
Footballers in Zanzibar
As the sunsets on the coast of Zanzibar's Stone Town, hundreds of teenagers flock the beach to play football, workout or just hang out. It's a beautifully calming feeling.
Stone Town, Zanzibar
Sunset in Stone Town
My family is from Zanzibar, and this photo summarizes by favorite food memories of the past and present - binging on mishkaki.
Mishkaki is small cubes of fatty beef grilled to perfection and basted with chilly and tamarind. It's to die for!