6 August 2020


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

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


Update 8/10/2020: This photo was taken on July 26, nine days before the explosion in Beirut. I had just been offered these magnificent lilies, 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, the world woke up to the terrible news of the explosion in Beirut, 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 an enormous explosion of some sort, while below, on the cover, a man covers (protects?) his face with his hand. Since then this post has elicited comments about its symbolism but it wasn't done on purpose as the photo had been taken days before. - BPJ

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