Purchase a print and help Lebanon rebuild.
*UPDATE, 24 August 2020: This fundraiser sold over 50 prints and allowed us to donate $1100 to Impact Lebanon's disaster relief fundraiser. Thank you all for the support!*
Beirut is in the throes of a national nightmare. Already ensnarled by a failing economy, rampant government corruption, the global pandemic, rising regional tensions, and the still-raw wounds of the Civil War, last week's explosions put a shocking punctuation on the list of the country's problems. The World seems to be asking of Lebanon: How much devastation can a country face before its foundational resilience is fractured beyond repair?
As the people of Beirut sort through the miles of rubble, searching for the corpses of their loved ones and protesting the political forces that fueled the powder keg, the terrifying shape of the situation starts to reveal itself as a crater in the country's prospects. They'll need nothing short of a miracle to make it through this, and since the most tangible type of magic is monetary, let's help them out.
I believe that the Lebanese are resilient, and will find a way to maintain and rebuild their country. But I also recognize that that response suggests a certain resignation to destruction there (and throughout the Middle East) endemic to us in the West. Decades of depictions of bullet-ridden buildings smoldering amongst heaps of rubble have filled in our imagination as the people's everyday reality, and what life there is is too often expressed to us only through its loss.
When I visited Lebanon for a couple weeks in the Summer of 2017 on a skate trip with some friends, many of the buildings were still pocked with reminders of the past, but the place was eager with construction and bustling with beautiful people living for the future.
The skate scene we found there was small, but gracious to outsiders. What was theirs they shared without hesitation, and we never lacked in smooth skatespots, good food, nor various vices. The polished marble of downtown's glitzy new high-rises stood ever-guarded by the buildings' heavily armed private security guards, so between runs at the grails we spent our days lounging on the corniche, soaking in one of the city's last remaining zones of public interaction, watching Lebanese of all walks of life walk along the coast together.
Without much outside infusion, the local skaters have developed an admirable resourcefulness. The outskirts of the city are criss-crossed with steeply sloped hills of greasy asphalt, and the locals hold trash in their hands to protect their palms as they expertly perform layback slides between the whizzing traffic. In a country so used to uncertainty, the skaters have found a flow all their own.
Now I see images of the same streets through which we skated together glistening with shattered glass, and watch as the people that showed me how beautiful it could be to live amongst this Life grieving and hurt. To even consider their plight is an exercise in trauma we might want to get used to.
(I can't help but reach toward the fun-house mirror reflection of Lebanon I see in the United States. Both countries haunted by the ghosts of their civil war and ineptly ruled by a corrupt, sectarian government. The people of Lebanon, at least, seem to be less fooled by their country's distortions, even as they face the most ugly ends of it. We can't even recognize our own image.)
I've taken so much from my short time in Beirut, it's about time I give something back. One thing I took from there was a lot of film photos with my Canon AE-1 (a camera originally given to my mom by her dad, who got into photography while living in Beirut in the early-1950s). These snapshots show something of the beauty the city and surrounding country have to offer to visitors, and I hope that by sharing them with you you'll feel similarly indebted to helping them now.
To help the Lebanese rebuild, I'm selling 8"x10" photo prints for $25.
Every cent made will be donated to Impact Lebanon's disaster relief fundraiser.
(A full and transparent accounting of donations will be made public at the sale's end.)
*UPDATE, 24 August 2020: To see receipt of $1100 donation please click here.*
Get a photo and give Lebanon a better chance to rebuild.
Swipe through the gallery below to check out the images on offer.
And email me to order a print.