During Hasan Abdallah’s childhood drawing played a major role in his activities. He also pursued photography as a hobby into his adult hood, prior to it becoming his lifelong career. Up to the age of twelve Hasan attended summer classes where he learned the fundamentals of photography. At the age of twelve he left school and sought employment in the Play Boy Photo Studio in Al Dahiye. He also worked as a car technician to supplement his income. During this time he satisfied his craving for photography by collecting magazines and pouring over the photographs for endless hours. His brother insisted that photography must be studied in school. Ignoring his brother’s advice Hasan continued on his independent path of self education. In 1993 he was offered a photojournalist position at Nide Al Watan. In 1994 he secured a photojournalist position with Al Safir newspaper. His photographs are in great demand and he is highly esteemed as a photographer.
Hasan Abdallah’s photographs have been included in numerous expositions. In 2006, he exhibited a personal exposition of the July War in the Exposition for Peace and War in Lebanon . He was awarded Second Place in the UNESCO Portrait Exposition. He was the President of the Organization of Expositions from 2006 to 2007. He is currently a member of the Syndicate of Journalists.
His photography immortalizes moments of war as well as moments that reflect the inherent beauty of nature, weddings, ceremonies, and top model events. Hasan Abdallah states that “A photographic image should grab the observers’ attention by exposing an extraordinary event”. The camera is an integral part of his life. He refuses to venture from home without it. He views his role with the camera as paternal, the protector and overseer of its welfare. Hasan states that “The goal of the photographer should be to convey an explicit message to humanity. A painter paints a portrait, a photographer is the portrait itself. Photos can be compared to words, ultimately photos are more influential than language. A journalist writes about an incidence from a distance, whereas, a photographer participates in the incidence. Without photographs news would be gibberish. The names of former photojournalists are remembered because of the quality and impact of their photos.”
His photographs of the war significantly contributed to the advancement of his career. He believes that photographs should encapsulate and communicate a specific event. During the July 2006 war in Al Dahiye Hasan saw an exodus of elderly men and women burdened with heavy bags. After photographing their plight he assisted them with their heavy loads. Although he is trained in Red Cross procedures he claims that he assists those in need after taking photographs, unless they are victims of merciless violent acts. His personal political opinions and beliefs do not influence his photographic imagery. It is illegal for photographers to express partisan views in photographs pertaining to war, and, as stated by Hasan, “It would be impossible for me to perform my job without maintaining a neutral stance.”
Prior to marriage he told his wife, “Regardless of anything else, I will continue to perform my job.” To alleviate his wife’s concerns during times of war he tells her that he is at the Agency, when in actuality he is in the battlefield. He does not allow any obstacles to get in the way of accomplishing missions.
Hasan considers the 2006 War and the Israeli attack in 1996 equally horrific. He recalls a terrifying incident in 1996 in southern Lebanon when he and a colleague were driving towards the Abba district and their car broke down. They were suddenly surrounded by mass Israeli bombings, targeting all vehicles in the region. Fortunately, Hasan and his colleague were able to escape unharmed by fleeing their car and seeking camouflage under the foliage of a nearby tree.”
Hasan Abdallah’s message to Lebanese youth is, “Photography involves drawing and imagination, as well as the intellect, mind. It is not a passive activity. Rather, it demands a deepened understanding of a broad spectrum of the arts. Those who enter the domain of photography need to consider the camera as a necessary and integral part of their life.”
• Name and Surname: Hasan Ibrahim Abdallah
• Date of birth: May 5, 1968
• Place of birth: Al Ghoubaire
• Agency Affiliation. “Nide al Watan” newspaper (1993-1994)
“Al Safir” newspaper (September 1994-Present)
• Length of Career: Since 1993
By Sevana Semerdjian