Saturday, December 22, 2012

Migrant Worker, Syrian, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, Summer of 2008

Some will always respond to the above portrait with shock, in that an Arab girl could have such color to her hair. Viewers might be surprised to learn of the variety of colors present in this incredible community, from the eyes to the hair to the skin. The young girl above is but one example of this incredible community.

Every time I return to that first village in Lebanon new faces come running out of the homes. This young girl and her sister had never seen me before and had just arrived from Syria a few weeks before my visit. While most of the other children knew my name and shouted it out over and over again, they stood by in a slight shock at this stranger walking around with a camera.

They nonetheless took to the camera with ease and let me photograph them many times over a span of two weeks. The sky was once again used as a backdrop and a small chair was brought out for them to stand upon. She loved wearing this dress, although it seemed quite hot to me. It matched the color of her hair perfectly, and I hope that the above scan reflects this correctly.

She was very shy, never spoke a word to me. Her older sister helped her along, spoke with her in the middle of the chaos my presence at times evokes. The confidence and stillness with which these girls stand amazes me as a result. Here she is with at least a dozen other kids running around her, making noise, sometimes pulling on her dress, pushing her along so that they could get their turn, innocently of course. Yet she never waivers and stands her ground.

The following year she was gone, and this portrait represents perhaps the last session I will have with her. Who knows? Maybe she'll return with her family as migrant workers to Lebanon, and to escape the horrors of war now ravaging their own land.
Halim Ina Photography

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