Images, Records, Memories, Thoughts

Galerie Samaha


The gallery features 50 images, singles and diptychs, from Lebanon from the years 1991 and 1992. It is a companion to a project commissioned by The work involved a literal investigation to identify to which of the two years, 1991 or 1992, each of 52 rolls of film belonged.  I had taken these photographs upon my return to my native Lebanon as a visitor after a 15 year absence. I had neglected to label the negatives and needed to determine the timeline for a book project. For that investigation, part of which is on the Ibraaz website, I was limited to use photographs which contained clues relative to others from different rolls.

In this gallery, I have selected other photographs, excluding any of friends or family, purely for pictorial purposes, of a country once again rising from the ashes of war. I saw and captured Lebanon, not as a tourist nor as a photojournalist, but simply as an intimidated yet trigger-happy photographer fascinated by the places I had inhabited and the people I knew as a youth. Some places I recognized, some were totally destroyed and others transformed by long wars and burgeoning signs of hesitant reconstruction.

The resulting book "Lebanon 1991 - A Catalogue of Destruction"  is simply a series of photographs from that year showing the devastation as photographed from a moving car while driving around Beirut and other parts of the country.

As for the selection here, I have aptly named it "The Stubborn Phoenix", one that has risen numerous times and one that I fear might burn again.