Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Search of Peace

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Search of Peace

Article excerpt

In Search of Peace

By Yousef Khanfar, Art Blanc, 2006, 136 pp. List: $50: AET: $40.

Reviewed by Matt Horton

AT THE AGE of six, Yousef Khanfar had yet to speak his first word. His concerned father, Deeb, a Palestinian refugee living in Kuwait, took Yousef to the doctor-who, ruling out physiological causes, prescribed art. Yousef's father dutifully took him out to the desert and taught his son how to use an old Nikon camera. Excited by the magic which occurred in the darkroom and echoing his father's praise of his early photographs, Yousef soon uttered his first word: "beautiful."

Today, Yousef Khanfar is one of the world's greatest landscape photographers. He has been honored by such publications as Oprah, International Photo Art, Amateur Photographer, Persimmon Hill, Photo Life, Outdoor Photographer and Nature's Best. Listed by Rotovision in 2003 as one of the best 38 photographers in the world, his work is included in the permanent collection of the International Photography Hall of Fame. Khanfar's first solo publication, Voices Of Light, was published in 2000.

His latest project, In Search of Peace, is arranged as a symphony in three movements ("Sublime," "Freedom" and "Divine"), with photographs forming the musical staff. The "symphony" is accompanied by original poetry in a prophetic and transcendent form that invokes fellow Levantine Kahlil Gibran. Khanfar's composition, use of light and angle, and brilliant eye create a masterful collection that demonstrates his world-class talent.

Talent alone, however, cannot account for the brilliance of his work. The collection of photographs also demonstrate the qualities that make Khanfar a truly great landscape photographer. His discipline, determination, patience and strong understanding of the natural world add a Zen-like quality to his images that embodies his strong sense of internal peace and intimately imparts some of this peace upon the viewer.

The title of his first photographic movement, "Sublime," describes not only the awe-inspiring scenes he has captured, but the photographer's symbolic interplay between natural elements. Khanfar frames the fleeting motion of liquids and the eternal stoicism of solids with the supernatural qualities of gas and light to explore conflict. …

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