Adrian just returned from a week in Lebanon.
After a few days exploring the neighbourhoods and refugee camps of south Beirut, he ventured east to Baalbek, which is around 60km from the Syrian border. Despite the regional tension and militarised surrounds, the locals (both Lebanese and the refugee community) were unbelievably warm and hospitable. He tried to capture some of this warmth in the shots.
The pictures he shot will be on display in our stairwell gallery next month. He’s also just set up an Instagram page with a selection of this series: https://instagram.com/adrianguerin/
Refugee camps in south Beirut
The highway to Baalbek is filled with makeshift Syrian refugee camps. I wondered in to a few of them and soon found myself inside the tents being offered food and drink.
A family gathering in Baalbek. I was walking along the main road when I was whisked in from the street by a couple of kids, and taken to their family. The kids' faces beamed with an expression that said, ‘Look what I found!'. The family looked up, with an expression that said 'wtf?'. In this part of the world it is Eid time. The whole family was feasting after a fast, and I was invited.
Invited in for some chai. These Syrians were from Kobani, Aleppo and Damascus. I don't speak Arabic. They don't speak English. Didn't matter. Sometimes communication is less about content, and more about expression. Tone, body language, eye contact. Our conversation worked just fine.
For the entire time these guys hosted me, they were all beaming, laughing and joking. This was a more sombre moment.
'This is my Zoolander pose'. In the Syrian camps I would extend my arm to greet the kids and shake their hand. Most would happily comply with 'Allo. Welcum', before bursting into hysterical laughter and jumping around like maniacs. Some though, would duck for cover. An extended hand from an adult is seen as a threat, rather than a greeting.
I was actually approached and asked to take this shot. The guy pulled over, wound down the window and said, 'We were just married. Take photo please'. Ok.