Á mon Beyrouth…
Based between Dubai and Beirut, Diane Aftimos is one of the most renowned photographers in Lebanon. A graduate of USEK, she continued to take workshops in France before coming back to begin her fruitful career in photography. Though she is known in the commercial world for her exquisite perspectives through the camera, she also has undertaken artistic human projects such as photographing children in refugee camps.
This is Diane, who I am proud to also call my friend.
Walking around Beirut every day, we see that buildings are stuck to each other with no color, no green spaces in the city and no parks. You see the chaos of the balconies on top of each other in such a disproportionate way that I decided to change that to art. So I turned something perceived as ugly into something beautiful. It became part of the city’s culture for houses to be so clumsily mixed up that way.
I remember Beirut this way since I was young. There are no pleasant buildings. No pleasant balconies. However it all became a matter of perspective. As a photographer I created my own perspective. So I created my version of Beirut Balconies. A reflection of our chaotic buildings which are now part of the city’s culture. In the photographs I added the ACs to reflect on the lack of oxygen, the buckets and baskets to reflect the communication that occurs among the neighbors.
I captured the essence of these balconies and used my photographs to create a souvenir package which will soon be on the market, one which tourists can take with a different view of Beirut. Charming, yet not so charming.
Her project is a non-profit one, with all proceeds going to funding tree planting in Beirut and Lebanon.