Video caption: Beirut: The bride being photographed in wedding dress as blast hitBeirut: The bride being photographed in wedding dress as blast hit
Beirut is a place I feel nostalgic about even when I’m in it.
It’s fixed in our collective memories as a place of glamour and danger. I’ve lived here five years, and sometimes it’s hard to separate these visions of past and present.
One image, fixed in my head from childhood, is from the civil war. It shows a bride, Areej Estephan and her groom, crossing the green line, the no-man’s land separating the factions in the war which ran from 1975 to 1990.
In the photograph by Georges Semerjian, Areej is wearing a white rented wedding dress, her husband Abed Joumaa, a white tux. All around them is destruction. It’s a snap of the surreal; beauty and dysfunction, captured in a single frame.
Thirty-seven years later another bride, Dr Israa Seblani stood not far from where Areej once posed, in her own wedding dress. She is filmed with a dazzling smile and brilliant hijab and long white train.
As the cameraman Mahmoud Nakid pans down, a few kilometres away a massive detonation takes place, the deadly explosion from Beirut’s port, Dr Seblani’s dress ripples with the shock wave as the dust and debris falls and she runs for cover.
Read Quentin’s piece in full here.