Friday, December 21, 2012

Syrian Girl, Uncovered, Migrant Worker, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, August 14, 2009

Her clear eyes have always affected me deeply, along with her smile. She is among the most beautifully timid of the girls from this tiny village, and yet she continuously allows me to make her picture. She rarely speaks a word but says so much with her expressions.

She lives within a row of tents on the side of a two lane road, where cars speed by without thinking much of the children playing along the side. Children have been struck by cars many times and my eyes have seen evidence of this unthinkable violence. These are the children of migrant workers from Syria, and are seen in an unequal manner unfortunately in very much the same way as migrant populations in any other country.

This row of tents was the scene of my very first photographic venture of another ethnic group. She is young enough to be born within my time with this group of people, and I have photographed her older sister as well as her older cousins even before she was born. After fifteen years with these families my presence is almost unnoticed by the adults, while the children never seem to get tired from saying my name upon arrival even before my car comes to a halt.

For this image she sat down in front of neighbor's home, the leader of this community. A few of the boys sat next to me in the sun in order to prevent unwanted sunlight from below. We were just having fun and used a digital camera to make these images. The pace was faster and the work more enjoyable since they were able to see the images immediately, both on the camera's screen and through the prints provided a few days later.

She is wearing an informal blouse and has let her hair go uncovered. She is at an age when her hair is at times covered and at other times uncovered. On this day she chose the latter and allowed herself to be documented in this manner. I have always admired her and her friends, for they are courageous enough to work with me regardless of the statements made by some of the boys in the early part of my work (since then the boys have become fond of me and respected my decision to give the girls their day in the sun).

I miss her very much and look forward to next year's visit. Along with my family living nearby, she is a very important reason for my continued visits to the birthplace of my parents.

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Halim Ina Photography