Patrick Baz is a Lebanese-French photographer born in Beirut. He was 12 years old when Lebanon’s civil war started and that’s when his passion for photography came to surface. Deeply affected and stimulated at the time by all that was going on around him, Patrick started documenting it all with his camera. Now, 44 years later, the photographer is using his camera once again to capture another big event happening in Lebanon; only this time, it’s a positive one.
Aside from being a talented and passionate photographer, Patrick Baz is currently AFP’s photo manager for the MENA region, managing and editing a network of more than 70 photographers.
AFP (Agence France-Presse) is a global news agency that provides fast, accurate, complete video, text, image, multimedia and graphic coverage of global events: from war and conflict to politics, economics, sports, and art performances, to important developments in health, science, and technology.
In a three days project from October 29 to November 1, AFP published a series of portraits taken by Patrick Baz. This project took place in Downtown Beirut, where protests have been happening for 23 days now. This place is still witnessing protesters of all ages, status, regions, genders, beliefs, professions, etc.
That’s where Patrick set up a studio and asked protesters, some waving their Lebanese flags and others wearing its colors, if they wanted to pose for a picture. In addition to getting their photo taken, these 58 protesters wrote their personal and special messages expressing the motivation behind their protesting.
The pictures include portraits of celebrities, people who have become symbols for the revolution, and random protesters. Nadine Labaki, Laure Ghorayeb, a Lebanese restaurant owner, a food stylist, an opera singer, and many more have their portraits in the series.
The AFP forum posted all of the photos, along with each person’s profession, full name, the date on which their picture was taken, and their brief message. Every single one of those people is unique in all of the previous criteria, though in the descriptions they share one thing in common: They are all anti-government demonstrators.
Every one of the 58 protesters chose how they wanted to pose. They also shared in their messages their grievance, hope, loyalty and love for Lebanon. Lebanese Hayat Nazer, for example, said that her motive is that she wants to “paint a new future, create a country we can all live in, peacefully and in dignity.”
Startup investor Antoine Yazbeck, who posed together with Lebanese designer Dea Hage Chahine and their cleaning tools, said the following: “I am revolting to claim back humanity’s spot amidst this chaos.” 56 more protesters profiled in this project explained their own reasons for protesting and their visions for this country.
What this project shows us is the effect this revolution have on the Lebanese people, and how it changed them before it even had the chance to change the country, the government or the political system.
This revolution has reshaped the minds of the Lebanese people, their way of thinking and their whole concept of patriotism. It has colored them with white, red and green from the inside as well as from the outside. So we thank AFP, Patrick Baz and everyone involved for proving and making this clear!