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PORTFOLIO

08.03.2018

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To all appearances, life in Naba’a seems difficult and bleak. One of Beirut’s poorest districts, Naba’a is home to a medley of ethnicities, from Lebanese residents to Syrian refugees, Kurds, Iraqis, and many more. Despite the poverty, a look at this neighbourhood also reveals a sense of gratitude at having been able to find sanctuary, which outweighs the feeling of desolation on the streets and in the cramped apartment blocks.

The former harbour district of Naba’a is situated in the East of the Lebanese capital, encompassing just three city blocks. Due to the low cost of living, the area has long attracted refugees from a multitude of different crisis zones. At first glance, this makes Naba’a simply another metropolitan problem district – in reality, however, the area is characterised by an exemplary unanimity.

Around one-hundred years ago, Naba’a became home to Armenians fleeing the genocide. Since then, they have been joined by Shia Muslims, families from Bagdad, and survivors of the war in Syria. Even though the area is currently controlled by Shiite Hizbollah, the sound of church bells and the call of the muezzin both regularly fill the air. Christians and Muslims, many of them former religious enemies, now live alongside each other in extremely close proximity. Naba’a has become a place of interfaith connections.  

Italian photographer Lorenzo Tugnoli spent three years in Naba’a. In this time, he created an array of images that capture the energy of this multi-cultural microcosm in all its facets. His photographs allow us to gain some insight into the soul of Naba’a. Despite the despondency of their everyday existence, his protagonists know how to make the best of their situation. And every one of them has their own story to tell.  

More images from the series are featured in LFI 2/2018, released on 23 February.
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli
© Lorenzo Tugnoli

Lorenzo Tugnoli

The Italian photographer (born 1979), who lives in Beirut, spent three years photographing in Naba’a. His work is characterised by stark contrasts, deep blacks and precise lines. He has been published in international magazines such as Le Monde, Newsweek, Time Magazine, Der Spiegel and works regularly for The Washington Post. Lorenzo Tugnoli is represented by Contrasto.
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