02 February, 2010

Stories VI - Remember Photo Joe - تذكروا فوتو جو

- Kevork with one of his many portraits of himself.

On the 8th of October in Bourj Hammoud,
As i was walking in random directions, I bump into him, Kevork Tachdjian, playing  Tawleh with a partner.
I ask him if I can take his picture. He asks why. I tell him I love photography... Its just a hobby of mine.
He tells me used to own the 1st photography shop in Bourj Hammoud. 
I asked him if he knows anything about the Polaroid films (I've been desperately trying to find some!).
Turns out he gave his last Polaroid camera to Paul Guiragossian a couple of days before he died.
Seeing that I'm a passionate photographer, he started talking... and I just couldn't stop him.

He was actually sitting exactly where his old store was... 
But today, it looked more like a storage room, like Ali-Baba's cavern. From old Mona Lisa painting, radios, chairs, boxes and tools etc... all thrown inside randomly. Do not expect to step a foot inside.

He tells me he wants to show me his pictures.
He knows exactly where every object is. He tells me about the picture of the girl who's on the glass of the store. He told me she was his muse, a beautiful creature, and a young soul. Until she ran away (still a teenager) and married a man who used to beat her up. 
He used to take a lot of pictures of her. When she came back a couple of years later, he was shocked. 
His muse changed; her face looked so tired;  she just wasn't the same.
He puts two pictures of her together, for me to notice the difference. He's right! The feeling is clearly not the same. He curses the man in a charming Armenian accent.

He then stops, and jumps to show me his picture of him and Abdel Halim Hafez. He's very proud of himself!
Abdel Halim was hospitalized in Lebanon. And Kevork knew how to get a hold of him at the hospital. 

He showed the picture of his store: And I fell in love with it...
He showed me dozens of pictures... of him his family, his parents (the two old people in the same picture) and people he knows, feeling very confident in front of my camera. 

Last but not least, he shares with me, a portrait that Paul Guiragossian made of him. It is signed 'Paul' and is surely authentic. 
"In his lifetime, Guiragossian became Lebanon's most celebrated painter, a renown he retains to this day."

I felt like Kevork shared his treasure box, his life, his passion, a period in time I was too young to experience...

Please, remember him.

-Click to Enlarge (there's 26 pictures,  3.18 mb file)


  1. i simply love this post ! kell chi fi ! next time bto2ta3 3layye abl ma trou7 la 7ayalla matra7 :p

  2. Howdy everyone, I just signed up on this awesome community forum and wished to say hi! Have a remarkable day!

  3. my respect to analogue photography :)

  4. I am not so competent to be well-suited to dash off brilliant stuff like you do but I am trying to pay it back so hoepfully this will afford you a smile or make you giggle or at the very least give you a thought for the day? :

    I just let my mind wander, and it didn't come back.