Akram Zaatari was born in Saida in Lebanon in 1966. He developed his film-making practice with the Lebanese TV station Future TV, which furnished him with a very real understanding of mass media representation; an experience that has opened the artist to different aspects of image-making and critical theory.
His video and photographic work spans research and archival practices as well as exploring gender identity and performativity. Part of Akram Zaatari’s project for the Arab Image Foundation is to create an archive of Lebanese photographic practice, especially through his research on the photographer Hashem El Madani who worked in Saida for over 50 years. Madani claims to have photographed 90% of the population of Saida, an archive that contains portraits of all of Saida’s families. It is a record not only of social reality but social aspirations because, as Madani says:
‘...these photographs reflect not only how people look but also how they desire to be seen.’
(We do not know if Zaatari himself features in Madani’s archive.)