Interviewed by JETSS
JETSS sat poolside at the ‘SLS Hotel’ in West Hollywood with the ultra-private Karim Fayed; the middle son of Egyptian business magnet and billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, former owner of Harrods Department Store in London and current owner of Hotel Ritz Paris.
Karim is best known as the younger, half-brother to deceased Dodi Fayed who died tragically in a car crash in Paris in 1997 seated next to the Princess of Wales Lady Diana.
With so many references to the very controversial family legacy it’s hard to imagine how to live a simple life being an Al-Fayed. The family name is clearly powerful and has proven to be a blessing and a curse. Karim however, has managed to subtlety assimilate into the main stream without much social stigma of abusing the luxury lifestyle that was his birthright.
At age 34yr. and father of two, Karim has stepped outside his protective father’s shadow and settled into passions of his own even amidst the scandal that forever follows the senior Fayed now 86 yr., who just a few months ago was accused of sexual assault in his London flat; Mr. Al-Fayed has vehemently denied the charges stating, “I completely deny any wrong doing in this matter and refute the complainant’s and allegations.”
Karim sits on the board of many charities but his heart clearly lies in his passion for photography. With a specialty in panoramic landscape photography, he never uses digital manipulation to improve his work opting to capture the image exactly as it appears in the original.
Jetss: Would you say it’s challenging to have this famous last name?
Karim Fayed: It’s hard, yes! Being an ‘Al-Fayed’ certainly has opened the door for me, but you also have to be very careful with whom you mix and entrust. I always try to treat all people equally regardless of their social status but I do realize those who want to know me just because of my name or they think I have money.
Jetss: Are you still asked about the death of your brother Dodi?
KF: I am, and it’s natural people are curious but I am very private and so I try to avoid this topic of conversation. It is of course painful and something I’d rather not think about.
Jetss: When did you get serious about photography?
KF: I received a camera as a gift when I was a child but probably around the age of 21 I started to get really serious. Actually, from a very young age I’ve been fascinated with landscape and nature and the beauty of natural lighting. Which is why now when I shoot, I always prefer natural raw photography with not a lot of editing.
Jetss: What camera do you currently shoot with?
KF: Right now I’m using the Hasselblad for film and the Nikon for digital.
Jetss: What do you like to shoot?
KF: I’ve always had an affinity with nature. I love being in the countryside with nothing to distract me, just the sound of wind. It is in this environment that I am able to take the pictures that I like.
Jetss: You’ve had exhibitions in London, France and Scotland but it’s been a while, can we expect to see some of your recent work any time soon?
KF: Yes, in fact I have a few more trips planned to some very exotic locations to add to my collection but I don’t have a date as yet. Jetss will be the first to know [laughs]!