It’s not every day we get to see a book full of images as beautiful as these. To discover that every shot features an image captured in Kuwait makes the publication all the more remarkable. Just when you think you know a country, something like this comes along and slaps you in the face. Look at this. Kuwait truly IS beautiful.
The book title ‘Where Did You Get The Beauty From?’ comes literally from the Arabic ÌÈÊ ÇáÍáÇ ãä æíä¿ (Jebt El Hala Mn Wain?), a line from a poem composed by Kuwaiti literary icon Bader Bursili especially to accompany the book. It’s easy to see how the title presented itself. Full of extraordinary images taken by more than sixty of Kuwait’s photographers the book presents, what will be for most people, a hitherto unknown and astonishing view of Kuwait.
It is a book that may not have seen the light of day had it not been for the wisdom and spirit of Kuwait Hotels Company (KHC) who recognized the importance of what was initially purely a collection of photographs, and strove to ensure that they were published as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
According to KHC’s Chief Executive Officer, Fawzi Al Musallam, it was a project that was too important to miss out on.
“I’m a strong believer in creating the right environment to support creativity and positive works”, he explained, “not only at Kuwait Hotels, but also whenever we get an opportunity in our society as a whole”.
The photography project was an initiative of the Kuwait Voluntary Work Center (KVWC), and led by Hussain Al Qallaf.
“When I first saw the photographs that had been produced by the volunteers, I was amazed by what I saw”, Al Musallam continued, “and was determined to do what I could to help”.
Initially he discussed it with his own CSR team at KHC, and all agreed that they should offer help to the KVWC’s team in order to publish a volume of photographs.
The photographers headed by Al Qallaf were unsupported by any other organization, and in fact initially had no plans to publish the collection in book form. Yet the work they were creating had already started to attract attention and indeed a number of the images had by now been awarded prizes in prestigious international photography competitions.
“We decided to take the initiative and make an offer to Hussain to help”.
It was important for Al Musallam to see the work of the photographers reward in the publication of a fine quality book. A book that would reflect the photographer’s skill, commitment and dedication, and at the same time reflect a view of Kuwait that few people are fortunate enough to see.
The KVWC’s team of photographers worked closely with the KHC team to ensure the widest view of Kuwait’s rare, and sometimes hidden, flora and fauna were recorded accurately and reproduced for the book.
What has been created is a testament to the team of voluntary photographers who spent many hours spread throughout Kuwait just waiting to capture the one shot that would do justice to the beauty of the creature or the land they sought to preserve as an image.
It is equally a testament to the beauty that lies within the folds of our desert land. And also to the generosity of Kuwait Hotels in ensuring that we can all share in viewing it.
‘Jebt El Hala Mn Wain?’ will be released on 5th June at Virgin Megastore, Salmiya. To find out more, visit the book’s official website www.jebtelhalamnwain.com
First published in Men's Passion issue #32 June-July-August 2011