Mini Interview With: Photographer Caroline Tabet

Born in Beirut in 1974, photographer Caroline Tabet spent most of her childhood between France and Lebanon.

After studying photography in Montpellier, she gained experience as an assistant to press and fashion photographers in Paris before making her way back to Lebanon in 1994.

Tabet’s photographs explore the relationship with the city and human interactions as well as the notions of intimacy, reminiscence and loss.

Part of her work is based on the research of the organic matter and the analog enlargement by the use of experimental techniques, through Polaroid, manual processing and alterations of the medium in the dark room.

In her videos, she develops a dialogue between the distinct proprieties of image and sound.

In 2003, she co-founded the photographic duo “Engram” with photographer Joanna Andraos. Engram’s series “290 rue du Liban” was published as a monographin 2010.

Her works have been exhibited both in solo and collective shows in Beirut and internationally.

The artist lives and works in Beirut and is currently represented by Art Factum Gallery.

We came back with the following answers after a quick talk with the photographer:

1- What’s the only thing you’d rather see with your eye and not through your lens?

” Everything is a potential photographic subject. It depends on the concerns and the taste that may change through the years. Even if I don’t always use my camera, enjoying simply certain moments, I capture lights, shadows, faces and settings in my mind all the time. This gives me inspiration for my future series.“

2- The picture you’d never agree to take?

”Anything that would result in the humiliation of a person.“

3- As a child, what did you imagine you’d be when you grow up?

” As a child, I wanted to be a dancer or a sculptor. My interest with photography started with my uncle who was passionate about the medium. I had a cheap camera and I started taking images of my cousin. Then a mother’s friend offered me the ten years special edition of ‘Photomagazine‘ for my fifteen’s birthday. In this edition I discovered the photographs of Nadar, Man Ray, William Klein, Don McCullin…

I didn’t know who they were but the power of their photographs obsessed me, made me want to tell visual stories too. I still have the book and I go back to it from time to time.“

4- Who’s your favorite photographer/or picture and why?

” It’s hard to name only one. There are many photographers that I like and I keep finding new works that are brilliant.

I love artists that are using photography in an innovative way such as Joan Foncuberta through his approach of illusion in photography with a great sense of humor and Oscar Munoz’s body of work that investigates the relationship between image and memory transcending boundaries among photography, printmaking, drawing and installation.

In the younger Lebanese generation, I admire the works of Joanna Andraos, Tanya Traboulsi and Lara Tabet who are all both strong and with personal signatures.

In the older generation, Fouad El Khoury and Gilbert Hage have impressive work that contributed in the construction of the photographic scene in Lebanon.“

5- In your opinion, what’s the worst thing that could become of photography?

” Not being able to take photographs with negative films and not doing gelatin silver prints anymore would be a huge loss.”