2020 was the beginning of Covid-19.

When I heard the news, I had a strange feeling that this was going to be the start of a new era and the end of the world as we once knew it.

Implicit with it was a time of fear, uncertainty, separation and radical change.

At the start of the pandemic I spent more than a month confined to a complex far from my home. As the days went by, the world was idling with all the chaos of uncertainties around. The safest place for me was outside in the fresh air. No matter where I was, I had this need to connect to earth.

From the series: While Standing My Ground. Self-portrait, Lebanon, June 2020 © Rima Maroun

As time was passing by and the world around me transforming, I needed a point of reference in relationship to a specific time and space. I started the series lying on the tiles of an empty swimming pool, then I gradually escaped into nature or into almost abandoned places since most people where inside their houses.

In August 2020, the Beirut explosion occurred.

Covid then seemed minimal in the face of the disaster we now had to face.

From the series: While Standing My Ground. Self-portrait, Beirut, August 2020 © Rima Maroun

I continued the series with snapshots of my city, clinging to whatever was left of it and reminding myself that only the earth was my stable ground.

Today, and after almost two years from the economical crises in Lebanon, the country is now facing one of its most difficult periods since centuries. The inflation rate is at more than 200 % and we are witnessing the collapse of a system we once knew flourishing. The infrastructure of the roads is decaying day after day. We now can see huge holes in the highways that are not being taken care of. We see piles of garbage in the middle of crowded streets.

Those decaying scenes have become our daily sights. I am aiming to continue the project with images that will depict the actual condition of the roads and the cityscape with its deterioration.

— Rima Maroun

Rima Maroun is a Lebanese photographer based in Beirut. She is the co-founder of Collectif Kahraba, Hammana Artist House and Collective 1200. We discovered her work during the open call for entries for the festival, Cortona On The Move.