This collection of snapshots is a personal account of my stay in Lebanon covering a period of eighteen months between 2003 and 2005. I moved to Beirut from London in August 2002 to work as an art director for an international network ad agency and spent a full year observing the country and its people before actually picking up the camera.

Initially my aim was to portray everyday life in Lebanon but over time I became obsessed with discoveries of remnants of another time, a time that coincides with my childhood during the seventies in an entirely different corner of the world. My photographs search for spontaneity, imperfection and tradition and are flavored by a strong presence of 70s' aesthetic.

Given the recent developments, they also emerge as a record of a society, caught between the ghosts of the not so distant troubled past and the events that were about to unfold in the aftermath of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Harriri in February 2005. This was a period marked by a sense of peace, stability and economic prosperity, a time when Beirut became once again the glamour and nightlife capital of the region.

Voyeuristic but never intrusive, the photographs are an attempt to map out a bigger picture by focusing on details and capturing moods. There are many themes that have occupied my attention but the most important are the ones that form the very pillars of the Lebanese society: politics, religion and family. For example I became very interested in the way people in Lebanon deal with authority figures – street scenes reveal posters of political leaders untouched by human hand, only worn out by the hot and humid climate; numerous impromptu Christian shrines are planted on street corners, in corridors of residential buildings and even next to petrol stations; portraits of ancestors hang from the walls of small grocery stores…

I would like to dedicate this body of work to the people of Lebanon in hope that peace and common sense will prevail.

— Sinisa Vlajkovic, August 2006

About the author: Sinisa Vlajkovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia in 1969 and graduated from the University of Belgrade in 1994 with a BSc in Town and Country Planning. In search of a more creative future, following a short spell in urban planning, he switched to graphic design and art direction. Between 1995 and present he lived and worked as an art director for advertising agencies in Belgrade, London, Beirut and now Dubai. In late 2003 following the acquisition of his first digital camera and inspired by the Lebanese way of life, he began to record the world around him from a very personal perspective.