The first time my friend decided to remove her veil was also her last. She wore it back the next day and never dared to remove it again. That day was the starting point of my experience and project. For her, it was temporary freedom. My project started a year and a half ago after I met a number of women from Beirut and other regions who had removed their veil. The concept of women removing their veil had become an interesting matter. However, it is the day I am talking about which encouraged me to start my project with my friend who found her head freed for one day. It all began after many discussions which clarified many things to me. She spoke of “the veil which weighs on her head”, about society which prevents her from achieving her freedom and refuses to see her the way she is, the way she would like to be. Her experience was different. The story behind removing the veil for one day had always attracted me; this day is a breaking point between two lives. After many discussions, we decided to shoot. None of us actually knew that this experience would lead us very far. Day after day, the details became clearer. I discovered a liberated girl in my friend. I became aware of concepts regarding the freedom of women and the veil in particular that would have never occurred to me otherwise. I remember how her free hands were arranging her hair when she entered the studio. Her hair was shining under the dim light.
Desiring Shelter: Syrian Refugee Camps Under the Shadow of Advertisements
From the depths of the newly established Syrian refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley and North Lebanon, Marwan Tahtah captures the transformation of tools of desire into shelters of necessity. These images portray how Syrian refugees are attempting to alleviate some of their current tragedies by appropriating splashy advertising banners for luxurious items. The results are modest shelters draped in sensual and vibrant images starkly contrasted by the occupants’ daily drive to survive. As opposed to common representations of blatant suffering, the photographs subtly invoke the profound chasm between “classes” and the power of human adaptability under extraordinary circumstances.