Deserted Spaces, Lost Memories
In my photography, I usually focus on people and decisive moments, fleeting moments in time that happen and are gone. When I went back to Lebanon after the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, I went with the intention of photographing people dealing with loss and reconstruction, hoping to capture moments and expressions that tell the story of what they have been through and how they are dealing with it.
However, I really didn't know what to expect, and I had to go with a pretty open mind to get a feel for what is there now and how people are dealing with the immediate aftermath. Although I took many black and white photos portraying the resiliency and humanity of the people and how they are living in makeshift homes and starting to deal with their losses, I realized that what really got to me was seeing all the remnants of people's homes scattered everywhere within the debris: toys, dolls, school work, wedding photos, etc. The more I walked over the debris, the more these objects stood out, making the reality of loss very real to me; and while one eventually gets used to seeing destruction everywhere, these precious remains and lost memories kept bringing back the destruction to a very human level. They were the remnants of people's lives, memories gone forever, lost memories of a previous home and a previous life.
I photographed these in color as the color of the objects stood out in the midst of the grayness of destruction and death. Whereas buildings can eventually be rebuilt, the remains that make one's home and summarizes one's life and history, are irreplaceable and gone.
– R. M.