"Four Hands Can't Clap"
This year I traveled to the Syrian refugee camps searching for love, more specifically in the hopes of finding couples that had met and fell in love during those rough times. I went to the camps in Adana - Turkey and Bar Elias - Lebanon but unfortunately I only came across brokenhearted young men...The first camp I went to was in Adana – Turkey. I had permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stay at the camp for one week but unfortunately for administrative reasons I was only allowed to be inside for one hour! Searching for such an intimate topic one must build a relationship with the refugees and gain their trust in order for them to be able to open up and talk. I traveled there with my Film camera and hand painted background. My idea was to set up a “studio” in the middle of the camp, an idea inspired by the very early street photographers but because I couldn't do that I had set it up in the parking lot of the hotel I was staying at, facing the street and bringing the young men I met from the camp to be photographed. It wasn't easy for them either as they also needed permission to leave the camp! People in the street started gathering around to see what was happening! Even the neighbors brought us some water and tea; all in all, I believe it was a pleasant experience for us all.A few months later I visited the camp in Lebanon, It was much smaller than the one in Adana that housed about 12000 families in comparison to the one in Lebanon that housed around 60 families only. You can imagine the difficulty in finding intimate stories. For my trip to Lebanon I brought with me two wedding pillowcases attached together to use as a background. The portraits were taken in a beautiful wheat field near the camp.What I found most interesting was that the war and life in these camps didn’t have a huge affect on the refugees’ traditions, financial status, and basic emotions and feelings, such as greed and jealousy — they all existed there. When it came to love they behaved like nothing was happening, some even left each other for not being from the same social or financial status! Even though they both lost everything I found that in their behavior it was as if they were grasping on to the last shred of hope and the idea that someday soon they will return back to their homes and life will be the same as it used to be.