One look at his work, and you might say photographer Laitham Haddad is a diamond in the grocery store.
By John Sprecher | Photography by Milissa Sprecher & Laitham Haddad
If you’re at all a peruser of Facebook with a Southwest Florida hashtag, you may have occasionally come across a dramatic, breathtaking, color-saturated image of a sunrise over the Sanibel Causeway, or a sunset on Fort Myers Beach, or any number of other spectacular images of the natural beauty surrounding us here.
Looking closer, you’ll see the byline “Two Eyes One Image Photography” — the official digital art gallery of Laitham Haddad, a self-taught photographer with a stunning eye (or “Two Eyes”) for the Southwest Florida environment whose Facebook following now exceeds 140,000 followers.
But the story of Laitham Haddad and his works of art is decidedly different than you might expect of someone with his talents and following. The fact is, Haddad is an artist in many ways waiting to be discovered, instead working 40 hours per week at a grocery store in Sanibel while capturing his images in his off time.
Haddad was a fitness specialist at Loyola University in Chicago until 2009, when he moved to the island after the death of his father to take care of the condo his parents owned. To put food on the table, he found a job at the local grocery store where today he still serves as a buyer. “I haven’t done the business side of photography as I should, I know that,” he admits. “I’ve sold a good number of images at shows and online, but not enough yet to go it alone as a photographer. Hopefully, that day is coming.”
Now 39 years old, Haddad began “experimenting and learning” the fine art of photography in Chicago, where he would wander the city and find interesting shots “at all hours of the night. Little by little, I kept improving and I’ve been helped a lot by the comments and suggestions people have given on images I posted to Facebook.”
One look at his Facebook page demonstrates the passion people have for his work — with many images generating thousands of likes, hundreds of shares and compliment after compliment.
The story of Laitham Haddad and his photographic works of art is decidedly different than you might expect of someone with his talents and following. Haddad is an artist in many ways waiting to be discovered.
“I prefer to process images as close to straight from the camera as I can,” he explains, “and if I need, make any adjustments in post production. I’d define my work as trying to capture the natural beauty of Southwest Florida, while pushing the boundary a little bit.”
As Haddad looks ahead, he sees great opportunity through his viewfinder. “I think there’s a lot of potential for my work and I’m excited about the future,” he says. “I’m in the process of building a website, and I’m not in any galleries yet, but I think anybody who visits here would love to take my stuff home.