AFP studio photo project on Lebanon's protests

Beirut (AFP) –


For three days, Lebanese photographer Patrick Baz invited demonstrators heading to or back from the main protest site in Beirut to have their portrait taken.

A wave of protests against Lebanon's political leaders and corruption has drawn hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets since October 17.

The protests, which are still ongoing, are unprecedented in how they have brought Lebanese from different regions, social strata and sects together under the national flag.

AFP's Baz opened a studio in central Beirut and asked demonstrators, often waving or wearing Lebanon's red-and-white banner, if they wanted to pose.

Each one of the 58 people in this photo project chose how they wanted to pose and wrote down a few words to explain what motivated them to take part in the protests.

Some of them are celebrities -- such as acclaimed filmmaker Nadine Labaki, actress Nada Abou Farhat or fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz.

Some became symbols of the protests over the past two weeks -- such as 88-year-old Laure Ghorayeb or Salim Ghadban, who was brutally beaten by police.

Others were more camera-shy. But the portraits featured in this series also include anonymous members of the public who were keen to make a statement.

"Building a new society", "rediscovering lost national pride"... all those profiled in this project expressed their grievances and hope for a better tomorrow.

The protest movement has already brought down the government and, while it remains to be seen whether it can durably reshape the political system, it has already changed the way Lebanon looks at itself.