Le Meridien hotel brand started a global project with the purpose of spreading art as well as the word about beautiful places around the world. One of the most amazing and surely unique artists who participates in this project and makes stunning shots of the things and places we know, but have never seen in such unusual and interesting way. His name is Khaled Youssef. He lives in Nice and works practically all around the world, traveling and capturing beautiful moments through soap bubbles. Le Meridien Lav Hotel in Podstrana, Split, hosts an exhibition of his work: 24 photos with motifs of London, Barcelona, Paris, Istanbul and Split can be seen in the hotel’s lobby until April. We were very lucky to have the opportunity to take a peek into his wondrous world and creative work. Here is what he said…
First of all, we would like to know how you got the idea for soap bubble pictures?
I used to work on reflections on the water in the sunny time after rain. Once I went to Atlanta (USA) I was very surprised by this big building and thought it would be nice to make the contrast between this and something fragile and colorful so I started to make bubbles that brought me to a childhood dream: “catching bubbles”! I can catch them now, not with my hands, but with my camera. Bubbles are a symbol of our dreams, our good ideas and our nice moments, they are fragile and they fly away, we are always trying to catch them…somehow this way I give a long life to my dreams.
Have you ever dabbled in photography prior to this? Or did photography come along with the soap bubbles idea?
Yeah, I started working on bubbles 3 years ago, but before and between I had some exhibitions on reflections and details; I m always trying to show another reality and another vision of the world through my images. Also, traveling is a permanent subject in my work.
“Life is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page”.
Le Meridien hotel gave me this chance, through our collaboration, to travel with my bubbles and show the world through a new lens.
So what is your trick? How do you manage to capture a bubble and take its
Should I give you all my secrets ? 🙂
No, seriously this work is simple because it’s natural, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. I work often alone because I need to be free and walk around trying to catch the perfect light and the good moment of shooting, so I developed a technique to make bubbles with my left hand and taking photos with my right one…you can check the video on http://www.lemeridiensparkling.com
What does your typical day look like? How do you reconcile your job
with photography, considering the fact you are actually a urologist?
It’s completely schizophrenic (not in my head hopefully), I mean my doctor’s life is separated totally from my photography life; when I’m at work I’m only thinking about my patients, but outside the hospital I switch on to photos and poetry like a way to escape diseases and death; I’m trying to offer another reality to myself and to others…hope it works.
Many of your pictures come from all around the world. What places have you visited in search for an interesting and captivating photography?
Oh! A lot, with Le Meridien I went to: London, Brussels, Barcelona, El Vendrell, Nice, Monaco, Paris, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Fujairah, Istanbul, Algeria and the wonderful Split… And we are going to show more places through the lens of a bubble.
In my own arrangement, I did that in USA, Andalusia, Scotland, Morocco, Lebanon…
I really believe our world is beautiful everywhere but we have to try to move and then to open our eyes and our mind.
Can you name a specific moment that inspired you for a particular photo?
What motifs do you prefer?
Photo is always a moment of grace, a heart-stop for less than one second. But each time I make bubbles and I see how much people enjoy them I feel full of happiness. My favorite photos are those where there is a world inside; with the reflection we can create a whole dream where we can escape.
You’ve also issued three poetry collections. Can you tell us a few words
about that as well? How do you find the time to engage in all these
activities? How did you start writing? What inspires you the most? Is there
any particular time of day when you like to write or is it more spontaneous?
I started to write in Arabic long time ago in Syria, some of my texts were published there. I always loved poetry, it’s a chance to be different, to express our-selves. Also,
I never try to make it complicated, neither too long… Saying a lot of things with few words is a difficult work, but for me still the most interesting. Everything in our life can inspire, a view, an emotion, a detail, even a simple blue sky… But since I’m originally from Syria I often write about that now and about humanity in general.
There is no particular time to write, it just comes and you need to make it go out on the paper.
Actually, the relation between photography and poetry is very strong; I’m trying to show images through my words and trying to catch a poetic moment with my camera. That makes the concept of “poetography”!
We hope you enjoyed this inspiring story as much as we did. To honor his work in a proper way, we’ll conclude this article with Youssef’s own words from one of his poems:
“One more day
Getting out of the time
In the middle of these noisy years
Something is waiting
Next to the door of my heart
It must be…happiness”