From studying chemical engineering to producing photojournalism, historic moments captured through the lens of a young street photographer.

Beirut — Nabeel Yakzan’s has a passion for capturing life in raw, simple moments. Living in Lebanon has changed the chemical engineering student’s personal passion into something more: professional photojournalism.

“I felt so much value that I was the one to capture the first night.”

“It grew on me gradually as I found ways of expressing my own thoughts through images.” He says. “I feel as a photographer a responsibility to preserve what I can of these fleeting moments, especially in the context of the Lebanese streets which we are witnessing now.”

When revolution struck on 17 October 2019, Nabeel was one of the only photographers out on the streets.

“The first day was weird for me, they were burning a building, burning chairs,” Nabeel describes a transformative moment. “I found myself free to point and capture anything, all the social concepts of privacy dissolved into the mass of rioters.”

Chaos has seemingly crept into every aspect of daily life in Beirut, Nabeel says. In the days before the revolution, pandemic, and the deadly port explosion, you could find Nabeel capturing the simple moments of city living. ©Nabeel Yakzan

“I felt so much value that I was the one to capture the first night.” He says, recognizing that his photography could be something more.

In the dangerous struggle against a corrupt ruling class, Nabeel’s photos showed to many what few could see.

“Although images of the revolution served their primary purpose as information rather than art, the general public seemed to react to my images more as art forms.” Nabeel says.

“In street photography, aesthetic images are produced through framing and choosing odd subjects, while photojournalism aesthetics are achieved through symbolism which are in general, more powerful forms of expression.”

While Lebanese news agencies, some politically affiliated, were notably absent in covering the pinnacle of several protests, Nabeel was there.

What started as capturing everyday life has swelled with responsibility — a new mission to show us the realities of a city seeking stability. Using his lens as a tool for truth. The makings of a modern photojournalist.

Riots consumed the streets, peace and change are the hopes of many who call Beirut home. Nabeel continues to capture a city and a nation transfixed in a moment of uncertainty. ©Nabeel Yakzan

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