“Brown Eyes and Sand” by Photographer Paul Hennebelle

Paul Hennebelle is a French photographer based in Beirut, Lebanon. Interested in identity as it relates to place, his current project, “Brown Eyes and Sand”, narrates the connection between people and their territory in the capital of Lebanon, offering “a portrait of rebellious youth in a city in the making, before the revolution”.

See more from “Brown Eyes and Sand” below.

“It is a perpetual construction site that defines the Lebanese capital city. Its youth is being built to the rhythm of the pounding hammers. This incessant buzzing of the city cradles the everyday life of its inhabitants on Mount Lebanon, like a song. 

Under the blazing sun, the workers rebuild the city. In total disorder, the skyscrapers grew like mushrooms, gradually blocking the view of the Mediterranean horizon.

The new ruins overlap the ancient ruins, forming a puzzle whose random cutting further fragments the ambition of the youth.”


“This Beirut youth is still seeking an identity, and tries to forget a past imposed to them. They set the world to rights and make up plans to escape. They wish to leave, to flee, and yet they desire to return to the land of the cedar.

Because it is the very character of the Mediterranean Sea which is a world of the in-between: open and closed space, the sea represents both the limit of the urban strolling and the hope to leave towards other cities.”

“Behind the great veils that cover the unfinished buildings, a new city is in the making. But the disillusioned and proud Lebanese youth are already looking towards the White Sea.

Endless goodbye and perpetual return.”

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