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Given the reclusive nature of some and the bitter enmity of others, gathering all of Lebanon's politicians in one room seems a challenging feat. Artist Lamia Maria Abillama has come very close to managing it. It's taken the better part of seven years, but the determined photographer successfully insinuated her camera into close proximity with some of the country's most powerful men (and a woman or two), ensuring that the likenesses of President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea, Progressive Socialist Party head Walid Jumblatt and more than 40 other figures from across Lebanon's political spectrum saw in the New Year together. Entitled "Your Excellencies," Abillama's series of 48 portraits, currently on display at Mar Mikhael's Galerie Tanit-Beyrouth, captures some of Lebanon's most familiar faces in the unfamiliar surroundings of their homes. Abillama worked alone to heighten the sense of intimacy between photographer and subject.Some images are more successful than others at presenting a new side to oft-photographed figures.Lamia Maria Abillama's "Your Excellencies" is up at Galerie Tanit-Beyrouth until Jan. 27 .
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