Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lebanon, August 10, 2009

Going back to the site of the very first portrait is on today’s agenda. While it is only a few hundred meters from the first camp this year, it has been a few years since they have seen me.

Getting out of the car and knowing that three hours are ahead without a ride back is a bit daunting at first. Then the people begin to recognize me, begin to remember their portraits. They are inviting from the first moment and continue to be so. They want to see portraits from other countries and I do so through my small albums.

They recognize their relative from another camp, their uncle and their cousin. Once again, it makes the photography that much easier. We set a small chair for the children and begin with the small boys, then the small girls, allowing the older girls to come along. The women sit around and watch, with smiles. They arrange the children and make sure that everyone is cooperative. In this camp, the women are quite progressive and active, even accepting my offer to photograph them.

The mood is easy and calm. Men walk by smiling, never saying anything negative. They just allow us to continue without pause. We finish much earlier than sunset and have time to drink tea together, three cups actually. We make casual portraits together, and then my ride arrives. Just as it was twelve years ago, this camp shows me the meaning of hospitality.