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For decades, Lebanon has had an image problem. Perceptions of the country were shaped by pictures of war taken by local and international photojournalists, who were in good business in the latter decades of the 20th century. Haykal, a 39-year-old university lecturer from north Lebanon's Batroun, has had an interest in photography her whole life.In 2006, Haykal's photography took a new direction when she started uploading her photographs to one of the growing number of stock imaging websites. Uploading to Shutterstock offered two main advantages, Haykal explained. First, as each image is scrutinized by a curator, she had a critical sounding board from which she could develop her photography, both technically and stylistically. Her dedication is also turning into critical success: One of her photographs, of a Slovenian church, was recently selected as a National Geographic Editor's Favorite.While photography has helped to sate her appetite for foreign travel, Haykal is equally keen to use it to explore her home country. Haykal shot a number of photos during Lebanon's garbage crisis, which she said also sold well.Since then, the company has been shooting in Lebanon and around the Middle East, accumulating over 4,000 hours of exclusive footage in the process.
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