Lebanon featured in All Love is Equal | Interview

gl_52aff93f-4f2c-47c5-86f9-211e0af4b6c2
The Lebanese picture that was featured in Braden Summer’s “All Love is Equal” Photoshoot

A couple of weeks ago, we were all surprised to see that Lebanon was among the locations used by Braden Summers in his “All Love is Equal” photoshoot showcasing 15 LGBT couples from around the world. The Lebanese one features two beautiful women modeling as a Lesbian couple in a traditional Lebanese house. I was curious to know more about it so I got a hold of Braden and asked him a couple of questions.


How did you come up with the idea of All Love is Equal and what are you hoping to achieve with it?

“All Love is Equal” is a photographic series that challenges the social construct of “iconic romance.” It is meant to call attention to the lack of commercial imagery that focuses on the idealization of same-sex couples. A large driving force behind creating this series was actually less about affecting the gay community directly, and more about giving the general population a way to relate to gay imagery which is devoid of sex, victimization, or banality – themes that might usually prevent some folks from connecting.  The photographs are not documentations, they are dreamy illustrations of what open expressions of love in different cultures *could* look like in a future, more accepting time.
I came up with the idea for the project when I was living in Paris.  I was shooting lots of romantic imagery when my boyfriend had suggested that I shoot a gay version.  The resulting image of two men on a London bridge sparked the idea to shoot a whole series of these “iconic” photographs in different cultures worldwide.Can you tell us about the Lebanese couple?

The Lebanese couple are models. Attempting to work with local gay organizations and members of the local community were fruitless efforts. It seemed a lot of folks were worried about having their faces seen in relation to a gay campaign.  We shot the image about an hour and a half north of Beirut, I can’t remember the name of the town.  The point of the image was to illustrate an idealization of lesbian couple in the middle east – it clearly is not a documentation.  We were trying to touch upon middle eastern culture with the hijabs without infringing upon religious beliefs – which was a difficult creative challenge to attempt to inspire without offending.

You can also find me on Twitter @JoeyAyoub

Advertisements

7 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. That’s all fine and dandy, but the construct of the image smacks bang in the middle of Orientalism and the typical Western gaze of Arab women!! What’s the issue of gay rights has anything to do with the price of rice in China!!!

    • Hey Sana

      I was expecting someone to accuse the photographer of Orientalism. But to be honest I don’t find it to be applicable here.

      He says so himself that this does not represent reality. If you see his other photographs, you’ll notice that they’re all in imagined settings that are broadly related to reality. Europeans in a cafe? Isn’t that a form of “Europeanism”?

      We do have stereotypes. And they’re not all bad. The ones portrayed here, in my opinion, show serenity and beauty.

      If all artists had to limit themselves to what isn’t offensive, we wouldn’t have much art left.

      I truly love this photo for what it is: beautiful. It’s a beautifully imagined possible future, one which we can drive for only if we’re able to imagine it.

      But that’s of course just my opinion.

  2. Aside from the artistic sidr and quality of the photo, i believe that if the artist really wanted to highlight the LGBTQ rights in Lebanon, he shoud have done so more realistically. How many women in Lebanon dress like this? How many still sit in their dwellings like this? And why use models when you could find a gay couple so easily and have a real couple?

    Again this is art, not science or politics, but i agree with Sana and find it very far from reality of Lebanese context and more so aligned with orientalist perspective.

    • I absolutely agree with you but how many lesbian couples are willing to take the risk of having their picture published…

Leave a Reply - in Elvish or Parseltongue, only.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s