A Picture is a Picture is a Picture, isn’t it?

A Glimpse by Refugee Kids at Their Life in Lebanon

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Nowadays the world’s media is full of pictures telling stories about war: Stories, told by journalists and photographers as well as by civilians and amateurs. Indeed war photographs help to record the present time and their developments – to make things obvious and understandable for the outstanding world society; to save snapshots for eternity and according to this to function as a permanent memory. Pictures can give an insight into other peoples’ life situation and therefore offer a brighter understanding of what people in or from crisis regions are going through. Not to forget that war has many faces, many viewpoints can be captured but so far, there is one group that didn’t get many chances to speak: the youngest generation. The project Lahza 2’s one aim among others is to change this fact and therefore to show war and its results from the viewpoint of displaced children.

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Lahza 2 ( “glimpse” in Arabic) is the fourth major project of the Image Festival Association called Zakira and took place in Lebanon within several refugee camps. The project was launched in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF and lasted for almost one year in 2013. During that time period 500 Syrian refugee children, aged between 7 and 12, took part in workshops to get some basic information about cameras and to get some training about how to handle the cameras. Therefore Zakira’s team visited 63 locations across Lebanon for a total of 238 visits. Afterwards all of those 500 children got a cam to shoot photographs – on the one hand to give a personal insight into their lives with all the problems emerging within their settlements, showing their fears and needs in this context. On the other hand the projects’ aim is to give the children a possibility to explore their skills and talents.

 

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So far the projects results, the children’s pictures, have been exhibited in Al Madina Theatre, Beirut, to show and support the children’s work – the best 62 pictures were chosen for the exhibition. Moreover a book entitled Lahza 2 has been published which also contains a selection of the best photographs taken by the Syrian refugee children. The project convinces not just because it gives refugees, moreover the generation who suffers the most from war, a voice to express themselves and their standpoint but also because it gives children the chance to take part, to act and to work within the project nearly independently. Final point to mention in this context – referring to Gertrude Stein’s most famous quote – in the case of pictures, especially war photographs, it should be questioned if a picture is a picture is a picture. May things be what they are; changing the viewing angle does offer several perspectives to look at them.

ZAKIRA (“Memory” in Arabic) is an NGO whose primary goal is to promote photography, and, more generally, the image in our society. Its objective is to enhance photographers’ work, to re-evaluate the importance of the image, to explore its impact and strength, and to create a circle of common interest open to all those interested in photography.

 

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