Born in Jaffa in 1926 and 1929 respectively, and exiled from Palestine in 1948, Adib and Fouad Ghorab Bendali settled in Lebanon. Here they learned photography from their uncle Michel Fakhoury, a photographer established in Jounieh, 15 kilometers to the north of Beirut. Soon they rented a small room at the famous Odeon Cinema in downtown Beirut, where they started working on their own.
They used that studio as a workspace for their photosurprise business. In 1954, they became the appointed photographers of the Oriental lodge for freemasons and opened a larger studio in Accaoui, which was known as Studio Fouad. Over the years they became renowned for their hand-coloured portraits. They remained there until Fouad’s death in 1996.
In an interview given a year before his death, Fouad explained his approach: ‘The work of the photographer consists of controlling light and knowing how to reflect it. I mainly concentrate on essential features in the face, such as the eyes and mouth, which are major determinants of beauty in someone’s face. Then I work on details that are particular to the model’s face, and light the scene accordingly.’
Adib still practices photography in a small studio in Bourj Hammoud. The Studio Fouad collection is the first professional collection acquired by the AIF in 1997.
AIF, March 2000