when you are used to life dealing you a strange card at any moment with no warning…
It is always in the simplest of people that kindness finds a home…
One hour from Kashgar, along the old silk road and just before the start of the Karakoram highway, lies a small village called “Opal”. In the middle of the hustle of the village market, the busy bread stalls, the people milling around and moving goods from place to place, I saw this pretty woman with the amber eyes. She stood there in the sunlight near a row of trees, alone, maybe waiting for someone. I approached, we did not speak, I looked at her, she looked back, I flet a silent agreement from her to photograph her, so I did. After clicking several frames I had the strangest feeling that with some people, as you photograph them, they are photographing you back. Her eyes were steady and piercing, blinking occasionally, just like a camera would. Weren’t cameras fashioned after human eyes in the first place?
More than two thirds of the old city of Kashgar has been demolished and the rest doomed to follow shortly…
I met this girl in one of the narrow alleys of what is left of the old city as she stood framed by her old family door. Old decorated wooden doors are considered a family treasure among the inhabitants of Kashgar and the carry with them a richness of symbology and lore. A half open door for example is an indication that the master of the house is at home and male visitors may call in. I head while in Kashgar that when the homes are getting demolished, the families, unhinge their doors and take them with them to their assigned new homes, because these doors are holders of their family traditions that they are so afraid of losing.
At an elevation of almost 3900m above sea level and close to the Pakistani border, the Kyrgyz nomadic people live in round tents called ‘yurts’ and enjoy an unbelievably clear blue sky during the dry season. They herd camels and yaks and offer the salty yak milk tea to visitors who suffer from elevation headaches. I found them to be very friendly, hospitable but extremely strong people. The sense of togetherness of their tribes allowed no intrusion from outside and they moved and thought together as a single unit with one mind. It was very fascinating to watch their behavior.
The lady photographed embroidered these colorful throws, pillows and blankets and sold them to the travelers who passed by the area and stopped at the yurts. She sat that day outside in the blazing sun surrounded by the lake, the fluffy clouds that hovered over snow-capped mountains and the great reflective waters of the karakol lake that doubled that magnificent beauty.
We rode camels into the south of Egypt and there we met the Nubians.
Nubia, the desert region between southern Egypt and northern Sudan, along the Nile river and home of the Noba people, is where I met this beautiful woman. A stark contrast to the almost inhuman and eerie remains of ancient Egypt, the Nubians are full of gentle smiles, simple ways, and colorful surroundings. Most of the homes were painted in light blue and the faces radiated a glowing brown. Heirs of old kingdoms and a complex relationship with ancient Egypt, the Nubians have a great air of mystery around them and their ancient culture.
When I started this project I wrongly assumed that a story such as mine with my Lebanon could be told with 29 photographs and 29 small writings. With every passing day I could see that life does not work like that. The stories that came to my mind and married with my photographs each day barely scratched the surface of the immensity that life in Lebanon was to me. Life engraves lines in us, each experience life changing, each event leaving its unique signature on our aging skin. No aging face is designed like any other, in the same way that no life is like another and no fingerprint is the same.
I met this lady in the street while in Beirut, her name is Aida, she could not tell me for sure how old she was and she sold cigarettes for a living. Her lines are evidence to a life that would take ages to tell. Nothing is more humbling than looking at a face like Aida’s.