Tanya Atallah Dahdah Creates the Fine Art Photography Academy

Photo by Maroun Bassil

“There is a good photograph – and if the photographer can repeat it then he is a good photographer.” In the enormous pool of photographs we see everyday, this is how Tanya Atallah defines a good photographer.

A photographer herself, Tanya has practiced and taught photography for the last 20 years. This artistic medium that has seen giant disruption by technology and social media has become the most common medium of self-expression. The surge of photographic expression and the encouragement of her own students led Tanya to open her own photography school: Fine Art Photography Academy (FAPA).

Today everyone is taking pictures but not every picture is a photo. A picture shows something, but a photo tells a story. If a photo tells a thousand words, those words need to be structured in a meaningful, coherent manner, like a grammatically correct sentence. So the ability to transform a picture into a photo is a skill that photographers study and perfect for years to be able to master.

“FAPA presents to each person who uses a photograph to communicate, a way to better communication. Photography is an art first and foremost – before becoming widely accessible to the masses. I thought of creating FAPA when I felt that people were underestimating good photography, eliminating the artistic aspect of it, without learning its principles and history, without knowing the grand masters of photography. The idea was setting up the academy to be a cultural center for photography, exhibitions, conferences, debates and photography classes,” explains Tanya passionately.

It is this passion that has allowed her, in the last one year to build an all-inclusive curriculum that allows students from different backgrounds to build a solid portfolio in photography. Students start either with an exam to determine their level or with an introductory course that covers the basics. From there students have a choice between 16 different courses based on their photography passion including portraits, studio lighting, kids photography, landscape, etc…

FAPA offers practical experience as well as cultural and technical knowledge that students apply to various areas of photography, from fashion to still life and from photojournalism to photo shoots in the studio and outdoors.

Each course spans over 5 weeks, three hours a week, to optimize the schedule for working students and to leave enough time for the completion of photography assignments. Most of the classes offered are in the evening and Tanya has already scheduled the of opening additional morning classes.

Recruiting professionals to teach this diversity of courses has been relatively easy as Tanya is connected to a large pool of talent. “FAPA currently has 11 teachers that I have chosen through my working and teaching experience. They are all very passionate about their specialization, which is an essential criterion. Some had no previous teaching experience, so I had to train them, “ confirms Tanya.

“The best thing in the academy is the diversity of students that could be in one class. I can have a doctor, a mom, a banker, a bartender and they are all there for the love of the photography – some for a hobby and others are turning it into a career,” explains Tanya. The courses allow the students to reach highly professional levels with flexibility that they might not be able to find elsewhere, in terms of schedule, exposure, admissions and experience. Tanya clearly defines FAPA’s objective of not only teaching photography but also aiming at pushing students to create a solid portfolio that can propel them forward in their career a photographers.

Tanya’s challenge is multi-fold: to condense a traditional syllabus into 5 weeks, to work with students of different ages, backgrounds, and needs and to make sure the teachers’ approach is common across the academy.

Yet when asked about her biggest challenge, this new mompreneur admits: “Sometimes I feel like I created something that has grown too fast and that I might not be up to it. The good thing is that I don’t have time to think about my fears. I have too much to do!”

After her own career as a professional photographer was overturned by the birth of her children, Tanya focused solely on teaching. After being in the system for too long, she felt consumed by it and decided to venture into FAPA. She felt a need to teach the principles of good photography to people social media after she wrote the thesis of her Masters on how the Facebook profile picture of the Lebanese woman was reinforcing the stereotype of inferiority. “The worst type of pictures is the selfie. You are placing yourself in a lower angle, you are looked down on, submissive, with no limbs, inferior, with no hands, no function in society. FAPA is set out to have students re-invent themselves and step up their photography standards.”

Contact FAPA on 71-011977 or at www.fapaworld.com







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