BEIRUT: At 24, Pamela Hachem has already been mentioned by over 23 international online magazines and blogs which proclaimed their love regarding her work.
Initially studying Interior Architecture at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) Hachem shifted her attention instead towards capturing transient moments and commemorating them with her lens. A self-taught photographer, digital marketer, and digital illustrator, her dreams are as big as her potentials.
“When I finished (high) school I was an art freak. I loved drawing, plastic arts and photography. I spent all my free time doing these three hobbies,” Hachem told Annahar. On her way to college, she was guided to follow which major is more profitable in the work-field instead of what suits her skills and creativity. “You can be creative [in interior architecture] but there will always be limits to your creativity. That’s why I found myself more in the photography field.”
Like many amateur photographers, Hachem initially photographed nature and immobile objects. It was later on that she aimed at showing the “non-cliché” Lebanon to the world. She took to the streets capturing old architecture, people, and everyday moments. Undoubtedly, when it came to using people in her photos, she had her family and friends to turn to at first. Everyone participated; her grandmother, sister, cousin, and anyone ready to sit for a photo.
“It’s a passion that goes beyond reality; an astonishing connection between the photographer and the image they try to convey. I realized that I want something that is not just appealing to the eye, but something that makes people look beyond the surface and explore their own identity, like I did!” Hachem explains.
On her way to create her most popular concepts “Portraits of What You Love”, “I’m Just Passing”, and “Stories from Lebanon,” it was at home that she nestled and forged set-ups and props for her photography. “I realized that this is how I’m going to tell the world what Lebanon is about and how we live,” she says.From online tutorials to expert opinions, she taught herself the ins and outs of this field, even though she believes one can never stop learning or experimenting.
Her well-loved creation #PortraitsOfWhatYouLove is the one to set her apart from fellow portrait photographers. “We all know that a portrait is a picture of a person or a group of people that captures their expressions/personality. I wanted something more. I thought of how each person has a story to tell, an object to display and a passion to show, something that became their own identity,” Hachem explains.
In this series, one notices bodies with no faces. Each and every subject chosen holds up an object which materializes their passion and covers their features with it. In a way, Hachem wants to portray people as being their own fascination, whether it being towards music, food, fashion, sports, or any other distinctive hobbies; it is surely not limited to conventional interests.
As for “I’m Just Passing”, she explains to Annahar how it was by pure coincidence that the concept popped to mind. “My sister and I love to go on random road trips to explore new areas and villages. One day as I was taking a photo of some street art, Melissa walked right through the frame of my photo as I was snapping it.”
Disregarding the frustration she felt at the moment, both her sister and herself noticed how life was given to a fixed object. Ever since then, they created a hashtag for people to use no matter where they are. “It stands up to its slogan ‘I'm just passing by to tell you a story’. The hashtag #ImJustPassing was created for people to use; it currently holds up to 8500 users from all around the world,” Hachem says.
Passionate, enthusiastic, and persistent, she entered competitions and starred her very first solo exhibition at Dawawine, Gemmayzeh, earlier this year.
Hachem won a competition organized by Ksara, a Lebanese winery, along two other Lebanese photographers, in which eight participants had to portray a wine bottle in a photo. Another win was with Instagram’s official page weekend competition during which they allow people from around the world to submit one photo along with a hashtag. She was chosen with seven other competitors.
“One of my pictures was chosen by the Live Love Beirut organization to be a postcard from Lebanon so people can send it to their loved ones living abroad,” she adds to her list of achievements.
“I couldn’t be prouder of what she’s achieved. I see a bright future lining up because I know when my sister loves something, she will do it with all her heart,” Melissa Hachem, the 19 year-old sister, told Annahar. “Oh, and of course I’ll be in her future” Melissa assures, to support her sister with no matter what she sets her mind to achieve.
Hachem owes her increasing success and exposure to the fastest mean of interaction, the Internet. Mentioned by over two dozens of international online magazines such as Bored Panda, Tabi Labo (Japanese), Darlin (Italian), Photogrist, and Art People Gallery (American) to name a few, her aim to reach out to the world got closer.
With intentions to go even further with her concepts, Hachem is planning to fly around the world capturing faceless people. “I will continue with Portraits of What You Love; there are so many stories to tell! I’m definitely ready for new challenges, and new exhibitions.”
Hachem truly believes one can only succeed when they follow their true passion and do what they love most. It is the key to greatness, creativity, and inspiration. “We should stick to what we love and do it no matter what the results are. Whether money is involved or not, you’ll feel happy and accomplished doing what you love for the rest of your life,” she says.
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