Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lebanon, August 12, 2009

Two small camps are on the schedule today.

Arriving at the first, their pictures from last week are handed out. The effect is immediate and they ask to be photographed right away. The equipment is arranged and, as expected, Fatouma becomes shy on her second day of photography.

This happens every single year, she allows herself to be photographed the first day, like last week, and then pushes others to do so until she is the last one, then she refuses.

Today is the same.

We decide to move to the next camp, a stone's throw from this one. The residents call us to walk over and we do so without hesitation. One young girl is ready and others run to do the same. By the time the camera is arranged, something sad yet familiar happens, two men approach and begin with their questions. The sadness for me is something other than their questions, it is the tone behind the questions.

One man insists that he has seen my work on television and has seen me selling the pictures for a profit. Without going into much detail, my answers are less measured and more emotional, a formula that needs refinement in the future but gets my point across for the moment. Rather than correct the man, he is left with the thought that the day will come when he will answer for his judgments of my work. This seems to please the younger ones listening.

However, time has run out without a single negative exposed and this leaves them sad at the same time. It is times like these when my patience for this craft is tested. Another day will come.

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