Lost Family Portraits

Lost Family Portraits is a collaboration between Catholic development agency CAFOD, creative agency M&C Saatchi and photographer Dario Mitidieri.

Captured in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley refugee camp, the photographs of families reflect their ‘lost’ loved ones, symbolised by empty chairs and unfilled arms.

Lost Family Portraits Khawles familyIn this example, 44 year old Khawle explains that she travelled from her home in Syria with her three children. The bus that brought them would not take them all the way, instead dropping them on the mountain. They had to walk the rest of the way.

“We met with problems. My 11-year-old daughter was beaten so badly by armed men, she couldn’t move for days.”

The family arrived in the Bekaa Valley, but they weren’t complete.

“I couldn’t bring all the members of my family with me. The youngest is with my mother. The bombs stopped us from being together.

Khawle spoke about the camp:

“Children are sad here, there is nothing for them to do, and there is no means for me to earn money.

Of the future …

“Perhaps we might stay like this for the rest of our lives. I don’t have anything to be happy for, just to live like this, here in our tent. I feel sad to be here without all my children.”

Asked about this family portrait, Khawle says, “A photograph speaks of family happiness, everyone smiling together. This photograph is full of tears.”

The website presents the portraits of lots of other families, with loss and separation a part of all their stories.

Photograph: Dario Mitidieri