Solo Exhibition by Salwa Eid
392rmeil393 gallery is delighted to present “Inkblots,” Salwa Eid's first solo show, featuring a selection of her most recent works. The exhibition showcases photographs of 10 anonymous characters that figuratively embody the city of Beirut, her hometown.
“How do you portray a place you call home? I’ve been asking myself that question for a long time now. I first tried to answer it by going around town and capturing what is left of Beirut’s heritage when I quickly realized that to me, it’s the people that make the city, they make it a home,” says Eid.
“Inkblots” stemmed from the desire to invite the photographed subject to be an active agent in the construction of their own image and that of the city they inhabit.
“I want viewers to understand that the images in ‘Inkblots’ are not photoshopped, that I did not manip- ulate anything to bring them these portraits. They’re all a genuine result of what the subjects are actually seeing,” states Eid.
To create the body of work for her upcoming exhibition, Eid first captures the subject’s silhouette against an overexposed background in her studio. Then, she wanders around Beirut with the person in question, to whom she lends her camera to photograph her/his own perception of the city.
“It’s very nice that on my shooting days I get to walk around with the people I photographed and see their side of Beirut. Lots of places are common to all, like the sea in Raouche, the Ferris wheel in Manara. And sometimes it gets more interesting, when they take me to places where they show me ‘their Beirut,’ their personal views based on personal experiences or memories,” explains Eid.
She first took up photography in 2012 at Dar El Mussawir, a local and regional hub that offers training programs, equipment, exhibitions, lectures and more. Eid started with an introductory course and moved on to advanced classes including black and white film photography as well as lighting and retouching. She also participated in a training by Alfonso Moral hosted by Dar, entitled: "Ideas, Images, Pictures: How to Develop a Photo Project?"
To her, the process is as important as the final outcome. Through experimenting with double exposure, in a well-paced and unhurried progression, Eid makes images that invite viewers to examine them closely and carefully, like one would with a painting.
Born in Beirut in 1989, Eid currently occupies the positions of senior developer and project manager at GPCS, a local company focused on software innovation and specialization in ERP applications. Prior to developing “Inkblots,” in addition to her day-to-day profession, Eid practiced corporate, food and fashion photography for reputable brands and companies.
In an effort to improve her skills, Eid takes at least a workshop a year. So far, she completed “career coach- ing in photography” at the London School of Photography in 2014. She also took two courses with ICP New York in 2016, entitled: “Building a Personal Body of Work with Martine Fougeron” and “Project Fashion Shoot with Alice O'Malley.”
Her successful path in this field led her “Inkblots,” which tells a story that resonates with her own beliefs. Each character in the series of photographs matches with an inkblot card from the projective personality test known as the Rorschach test. Developed in the early 90s, this controversial method of measuring psychological functioning, serves a different purpose here: to bring to consciousness both the personal and the collective unconscious to characterize Beirut, a city where people and places are intimately connected.