Austrian-born photographer Tanya Traboulsi is our rock in the Middle East. She introduced us to the Lebanese capital Beirut and its creative scene with personalities such as photographer Caroline Tabet, musician Charbel Haber, designer Maria Kassab, DJ/producer Ziad Nawfal, and young illustrator called Loulwa Beydoun.
After spending her childhood traveling back and forth between these two countries, she studied fashion design in Vienna and finally turned towards photography as her main creative outlet. Since 2007, she has been photographing the local alternative music scene and published the book “Untitled Tracks“ in 2010 together with Ziad Nawfal and Ghalya Saadawi at Amers Editions. Besides taking photos, she loves hanging out with her cat Bob, visiting the latest exhibitions in Beirut, and going on roadtrips to enjoy nature outside the city.
Where do you go when you want to relax or get inspired in your city?
Beirut is not really a city to relax in (haha…) so it’s rare for me to stay in Beirut when I want to relax. However, there are a few places that have enough space and silence. One of them is Café Rawda by the sea and another one is a university campus near my house.
How has technology influenced you?
I have always been a fan of technology and I like to make use of it as much as possible. For example, I find it important to know about all the options of my cameras, phone, or computer. I think technology, in some ways, makes our life easier and faster. Although, I have to say that faster isn’t always positive, at least not in every aspect of life.
What’s your best travel memory?
All the travels I did with my family during my childhood, of course. A month seemed like a year and everything was new and exciting. Ferryboats, road trips, camping sites, far off beaches, making friends for just the few days you stayed in a place. Also, I just got back from a trip in Austria that was very inspiring and relaxing. It was a November month of photography and I got to see many interesting exhibitions. I also saw Godspeed You! Black Emperor in concert, which was simply breathtaking. In 2010 I traveled around on my own for 3 months. It was a very inspiring and influential experience. I visited Mutek festival in Montreal, stayed at my artist friends in Rotterdam for a while, went to Vienna and Paris to stay with friends. I really like traveling to a destination as a person that is planning to adjust to a everyday life, and not as a tourist.
Your latest artistic discovery (musical, art or design)?
I discover some amazing artists every day. Today I stumbled upon the breathtaking work of Taryn Simon.
What current global or local topics are you currently fascinated with?
I’m more concerned than fascinated with how fast and radical society changes. Values, priorities, duties, everything changes so fast and becomes so easily disposable. If something doesn’t work, be it personal or material, we throw it away instead of fixing it. Also, everything becomes global, huge, like a worldwide machinery that is eating anything individual. I find this quite disturbing.
Which one is your favourite FvF interview?
I have to say my favorite interview is with Ai and Cedric Bihr. I think I actually contacted you after having looked at if over and over again. I really love it.
I also have a few favorite pictures. One of them includes a portrait of Loulwa Beydoun on her rooftop, the Milan shot that is part of Massimo Cannavacciuolo’s portrait, as well as the window glimpse at Ai’s and Cedric’s house.
What was the last great meal you ate & where?
Spinach quiche, home-made!
Three websites you – more or less – visit daily?
To name just a few: The Fox is Black, Peanut Butter Thoughts, iGNANT, LPV Magazine and a customized Photography / Art / Design newsfeed on Facebook containing around 250 facebook pages about photography, art, design, music etc.
What’s the most surprising fact about Beirut?
How much you cannot rely on it. And how much that mere fact, which in fact isn’t even a surprise, still surprises you over and over again. Is this confusing? Well, Beirut is quite confusing.
Thank you Tanya for these insights and for being part of FvF! If you would like to check out more of her work, we recommend her website. As well, click here if you wish to see the portraits Tanya has done for FvF.
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