Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lebanon, August 14, 2009


On this day, the last of the photographs are given to the people. There is much commotion, much anticipation. They love the colors, since all of my portraits from before have been traditional black and white prints.

The excitement translates to a wonderful afternoon session.

The girls get ready, wash their faces, comb their hair, put their best clothes on, sometimes swapping pieces with their friends, putting flowers behind their ears.

In the past, the parents would pay little attention to the photography, allowing their children to be photographed as they were found that day. This has changed over the years, especially in light of the fact that the photographs are being delivered in color and only a few days after the photography, rather than the next year.

We photograph from noon until the sun sets today, going from inside the tents to outside under the glorious sun. At the end, one young girl named Maryam walks back with me to the road, in between the tents. She smiles as we walk, her father being the person responsible for this small area. He has treated me like a brother since the day we met over twelve years ago.

I tell her that she is my sister, my daughter.

She tells me, with that same smile, that I am her father, her uncle and her brother.

This is how my time in Lebanon ends, as the sun sets behind the mountains.

Her portrait can be seen above, with that same smile.