Hair Craft and Ethiopian Coffee

A few friends and I recently stumbled into an Ethiopian hair salon in the Karm el-Zeytoun neighborhoods where we curiously explored this intimate setting. Hair is very much a craft for the ladies and getting it done is a full day’s affair accentuated with plenty of coffee, arguileh and gossip. They graciously welcomed our group in and allowed us to observe their Saturday afternoon ritual more closely with our cameras.

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What Remains…

Two weeks ago, there was a devastating building collapse in the Achrafieh neighborhood of Fasouh. The tragedy was naturally widely-covered by various media outlets (report) who made a big fuss about the whole event.

It was one of those events that leave you numb for a few days and you stare blankly at the TV as reports come in. I was left with (almost) the same dumb shock emotion as I did during the 9/11 attacks a few years back. I felt the same anger at those responsible for allowing the warning signs to get dismissed, the same sadness for the loss of lives and the pain the families are enduring, the same frustration that this had to happen in the first place and the same helplessness of not knowing what to do to help.

Today I passed by the site with a few friends who were photographing in the area. It wasn’t really planned that we would visit the site (and I didn’t feel comfortable visiting it before), but a curiosity of wanting to see it for ourselves drew us closer. It kind of makes it more real when you see things in front of you.

At first, I was a bit hesitant to share the photographs I took there today, but I believe what remains of such tragedies also reveals a lot – both about the incident itself and those who once called this now-flattened plot of land their home. And you’re left, as an outsider, with only little clues of what their lives were like before..

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A silent echo of mourning can be felt so deeply while visiting the site. You can’t help but feel something stir inside of you upon seeing this huge mark of loss and tragedy.

As days pass and news makes way for other tragedies (unfortunately, that’s the way the world works), people start to forget and move on with their lives as if nothing happened. The building collapse should be, at the very least, a testimony for change and prevention of other similar tragedies. I would hate to see more buildings collapse because of neglect, by whoever may be responsible.

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Post originally featured on LBC News’ blog here.

Styling Sabah

Sabah’s former stylist lives along the coast of Tripoli, in the quiet port-side part of town where the winding alleyways with hanging rusty shutters and netted baskets smell of fish long after the morning catch.

I entered the shop to take a look after spotting all the photos on the glass outside. You wouldn’t think much of the shop from first glance. I didn’t believe him at first but if a shrine of their photos together is any proof of his devotion to the pop icon, then I don’t know what is (and his shop does little more than just do that). It’s a museum of that signature flowing bleach blonde hair with that painted on make-up that will remain as frozen in time as the woman herself.

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Although I’m not much of a fan of Sabah, but like entering any well-preserved museum, you can’t help but walk out with a little sense of appreciation for the life she’s lived (and the hairstyle she’s managed to keep all this time). Something about seeing it unveiled through the eyes of her stylist leaves you wondering what that journey’s been like and why they parted ways. Does Sabah miss Nicholas as much as he misses her?

Ya Jaggal

The past few times I’ve been out taking photographs, I’ve run into men that fit into that typical stereotypical male image people like to refer to as “jaggal”. Trust me, I don’t mean it as a term of endearment or find them jaggal-like in my eyes, but rather that they possess that attitude of macho where no other word fits better.

Each of the photographs below were taken in different cities in Lebanon and it was made very clear from the moment I saw them that they “own this town” (how true that is is certainly debatable) and enjoy the attention they get for being a bit over-the-top in their style. Try and prove them wrong (I don’t recommend it). It’s interesting to see how these men are individually very different, yet possess some very similar and unique features.

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