Sunbathers of Beirut: the photographs celebrating everyday life in the Middle East

On 4 August 2020, Fouad Elkoury was sitting in his home in Beirut when an enormous explosion at the port shattered his windows and blasted through his living room. Miraculously, the Lebanese photographer survived but his home was destroyed, along with those of an estimated 300,000 others. “When you go through such an explosion,” he says, “first, your memory disappears. Second, your hearing is ruined. And third, you stop planning. Things are so big, you realise you are nothing. This is where I am at the moment.”

One of Lebanon’s foremost photographers, Elkoury came to international recognition with his intimate photographs documenting life during the Lebanese civil war in Beirut in the 1970s and early 80s. Travelling in the years following the conflict, he found himself aboard the ship carrying Yasser Arafat during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He created Atlantis, a nautical series of images featuring the Palestinian leader.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 01/11/21]