ART PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE PHOENICIA
FIRST EDITION OF THE PHAP COMPETITION
the Phoenicia Beirut is no stranger to the arts. The hotel itself is a testament to modern architecture, so much so that it as featured in multi le lms mostl s ic s from the s s. t as origi nall designed in the s a grou of architects led d ard urell tone the man ehind such famed uildings as e or s useum of odern rt o ith another ing added later e anese legend Joseph Philippe Karam, who famously de signed owntown Beirut s The gg. The hotel was restored in the s a er the e anese i il ar y one of the world s largest architecture rms, K, whose portfolio includes a long list of large scale pro ects, such as the regional landmar u ai arina. en today, a few years past its th anni ersary, the hotel remains a magni cent uilding inside and out.
The hotel also houses an impressi e collection of artwor y renowned international and e anese artists, including the signature ud ircle, painted with real mud directly onto a giant wall at the hotel s entrance y British artist ichard ong, whose wor is featured in museums around the world. The Phoeni cia otel has always een hea ily in ol ed as an art hotel and supporter of creati ity and artistic talent, says a en alha, chairman of ociete es rands otels u i an sal , parent company of the Phoenicia.
ost recently the hotel has focused its in ol e ment on a growing artform in the country: photogra phy. The Phoenicia otel rt Photo P P competi tion launched a year ago, ut it was only this spring
“The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself.” - Woody Dumas
that the pu lic was a le to iew the end product, with an e hi ition featuring images, each ta en y a di erent photographer some professional, others amateurs. er each month of the past year, the hotel has o ered a participating artist a night s stay in the lap of lu ury, to fuel their creati e re and help inspire a wor of art. The result was photos, each as uni ue as their creators, ranging from a so lac and white shot of the folds in an unmade ed, to a carefully choreographed photo of the Phoeni cia s grand stairway, occupied y men and women umping and posing theatrically.
The e hi ition launched arch in the Phoe nicia s lo y and continued through the end of the month. winner was e pected to e announced at the opening, howe er, the panel s udges well nown e anese photographer oger ou ar el, art collector Tare ahas, president of the ideoinsight oundation e ecca usso, former general manager of the hotel eorge einlaender, as well as a en alha and his son, P P founding udge a i alha were deadloc ed. By coincidence, two photogra phers had an identical score and a third photogra pher was only . points ehind. t was ery close for the top three the elder alha e plains. ltimately, two winners were declared: hady Khalaf for ife in anderlust, a stri ing long e posure shot of the hotel s e terior, and amad ossadegh, for his wor e oured, showing a man umping into the lo y s central chandelier with the ud ircle isi le in the ac ground . The ury assessed the wor s ased on their creati ity, image uality, use of light and color as well as their a ility to elicit an emotional re sponse. The other photographers featured in the ex hi it were irginia Khuri, enia aalouf, ario aou, ntoine id, ou man asreddine, ngela olomon, har el Boue , Jeroen Kramer, hale a a e and iane imos. hile there was no re uirement that the pieces feature the Phoenicia, most participants chose to, not surprising gi en how easily the hotel lends itself to eing photographed. alha o ser es that their interpretations ha e een eye opening, e en to those of us who see the Phoenicia e ery day.
The two winners are splitting ust o er , in pri e money, ut the real winners are hotel guests and employees who get to relish e en more cul ture and eauty than usual as they wal through the premises and all the participants, whose wor s were displayed to many in uential passers y. im ited editions, e prints per photograph were o ered for each, with percent of the pro ts going to a charity of the artists choice.
nspired y a similar initiati e in Paris, the hotel wanted to support isual arts, namely photography, iewing it as a growing eld. alha adds that P P is ust one of many art initiati es at the hotel. e support many forms of creati ity and art and ha e se eral other pro ects in the pipeline.
The hotel is already mo ing forward with a call for applicants for the next year, with the hopes of ma ing P P an annual competition.