"Culture must be made accessible to more people so that mediums, such as photography, become democratized in Lebanon," experts in artistic photography said during a round-table held at Byblos Bank headquarters titled “From production to marketing of photography."
Moderated by Marine Bougaran, Project Manager and expert in photography at BEIRUT ART FAIR, the round table featured renowned speakers including: Photographer and Artistic Director Thierry Van Biesen, Photography Historian Clémence Cottard, Founder of Art Factum gallery Joy Mardini, Lawyer and Doctor of Law Serge Najjar and the Artistic Director of BEIRUT ART FAIR Pascal Odille.
The speakers tackled the evolution of the medium beginning with the gradual arrival between 1839 and 1876 of photography as a "symbol of modernity" to the Middle East and particularly in the Ottoman Empire, which was in a period of decline. Participants agreed that the "first commercial productions" of photography were "primarily intended to photographers who came to discover the East." This later allowed collectors to “create books of old photographs ", thus paving the way for the creation of a market for this type of photography.
At the same time, participants emphasized "the importance of raising awareness about culture among Lebanese youth whether on the streets, in schools, in universities and within institutions." Participants agreed however that such a development imposes clear and strictly enforced laws to protect artists’ rights and allow them to advance in Lebanon. The round table discussion, held at the full auditorium of Byblos Bank headquarters, was closed by a very fruitful Q&A session between experts and amateurs in the field.
Byblos Bank is actively supporting photography in Lebanon and particularly emerging Lebanese photographers. This commitment is mainly expressed through the Byblos Bank Award for photography, launched in 2012. The call for applications for 2015 edition will be launched in June.