Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Syrian Refugee + Garden, Zahle, Lebanon, 2017

The generation before her gave birth to my photography over twenty years ago, as a taxi driver dropped me off near to this camp. The generosity of the Syrians living in these tents was immediately felt as the women invited me to have some tea. Ever since that first moment the children of this community have been documented, their stories recorded.

The boys who used to give me trouble have now become the leaders of the camps. Instead of teasing me, they referred to me as Uncle Halim and attended to me as they would attend to their elders. The transformation was unlike any in my photographic experience, perhaps showing me the future of my work in the various communities as time passes.

This year was different than previous years, since the conflict in Syria has changed the region entirely. The number of Syrians seeking safety in Lebanon has increased dramatically, and amongst them may exist those intent on doing harm to an outsider.

Thus my Uncle asked to come along for my first visit this summer. We drove to the camp and realized that the families had relocated due to construction. They were about one mile away, and a little further from the main road. We arrived and were immediately greeted by those young boys who had become the leaders. Immediately hugs and kisses were exchanged, and smiles were on everyone's faces. My Uncle was relieved and comfortable enough to allow me to visit on my own for the rest of my time.

This young girl was of course unborn at the time of my early work, and has energized my work once again in the region. To know her language is such a relief, unlike my work in other countries. Watching her react as we speak is priceless, hearing her story firsthand without translation is irreplaceable. 

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

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