6 August 2020

Explosion


To all our Lebanese friends and The American University of Beirut, all our sympathies, sadness, and prayers.

Above: "The Bitter Years" / "Les Années Amères"
Photography of Edward Steichen

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Update 8/10/2020: This photo was taken on July 26, nine days before the explosion in Beirut. Frédéric had just surprised me with these lilies, it was no special occasion, and the first thing I thought, feeling slightly uncomfortable, was, "Um white lilies are for funerals" but didn't say anything as they were such a beautiful gesture and gift, put them in a vase and took this photo. When I looked at it I noticed that the grim coffee table book was in the shot and wanted to re-take it without it, but decided not to bother. Days later, on August 5, we woke up to the terrible news of the explosion, and the next day, August 6, searching for a photo to post as usual, this one almost jumped off my screen. I was struck how the overhead angle made the lilies look uncannily like a huge explosion, while the cover, a man covering (protecting?) his face with his hand (the book's theme is The Great Depression) took on new meaning. Since then this post has elicited comments about the intended symbolism but it wasn't done on purpose, as it was taken days before. - BPJ

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