Saturday, September 9, 2017

Young Syrian + Shawl, Zahle, Lebanon, 2017

Her portrait was made almost exactly in the spot where my photography was born twenty years ago. She is from the same community, Syrians living in Lebanon... but the circumstances today are much different than they were then. Her homeland is in ruins, and amongst her community are those who pose great danger to all regardless of faith or political leaning.

She endures a most difficult life on a daily basis, living in a tent settlement on a winding road. Cars pass by without slowing down, and without much care for the children playing near the edge of the street. While of course her parents love her so, the life of the children in these camps is more than just rough. The actions of the boys, in any other setting, would be seen as anywhere from violent to criminal. In front of my eyes, while we were making her portrait, two children fought with fists and without reservation hitting each other with full force in the face.

This goes on daily in front of this beautiful girl, and much more. Lebanon has absorbed hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, totaling almost half of its normal population. The jobs are now even more scarce, adding to the friction between the communities. In this pot of emotions she has to exist, and does so with such strength.

Many ask me, especially after seeing how difficult the photography is in the camps, "why continue?" It is simple, I admire this young girl and those like her for surviving the ignorances of those around them, and for doing so with such innocence and grace.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

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