Today was spent scanning the paper proofs from the first ten years of the work, so that all proofs can be viewed more easily. In two hours over 150 rolls were viewed, taking me back over a decade to that beautiful summer in Lebanon.
As each print was placed on the scanner, the memories came rushing back. Each and every facewas remembered, as well as some of the names such as Najwa, Maryam, Fatouma and Khawla. The names were as familiar as the locations for each portrait, from the walls of adjacent buildings to the sheets covering the tents of these communities.
I remember for example when these two girls walked in front of my as they went to collect water. Photographing them in their tiny hamlet was going to be hard, so I decided to ask for their portraits right there and then, in the alley leading to the well. We were already photographing the girls living in this alley, and all happened to be friends. They hesitated at first, but said yes as they were coming back.
A single roll was exposed for these two friends, six portraits each. We are looking at four expressions out of twelve, and two faces which have never been seen again by me.
Sometimes I need to pinch myself looking at these portraits, knowing that I was there, that I spoke to them, that they allowed me to photograph them and that I was in their divine presence for a few minutes before they walked into the distance.
Note: This proof was made using a Hasselblad V System, onto Fuji Neopan Acros 100 ISO film.