WHAT SHE’S DONE The young photographer recently snapped Lebanon’s new generation of young creatives for high-end clothing retailer Aïshti. She also participated in Ras Masqa Artists in Residence and is the woman behind two projects detailing Beirut’s underground nightlife – Vertiges du matin (Morning Vertigo) and Nightshift.
Tell us about yourself. My name is Myriam Boulos, I am 23 years old, and with my camera I try to understand society and find my place in it. My pictures are a mixture of instinct and reflection.
You work predominantly in black and white. Why? Because it’s an aesthetic that suits me, like my writing. For me, this aesthetic is like a fingerprint. It marks my presence and leaves a trace.
In Nightshift you examined the nocturnal world of Lebanese youth. What interests you about the night? At night a social map emerges in Beirut. Like a chemical ingredient that helps all cells to appear. It fascinates me. Night is the theatre of Beirut. Everyone removes their masks and is themselves in a way that interests me.
Beirut’s underground scenes are small and insular. What fascinates you about the city, its youth and its music? Vertiges du matin and Nightshift are about the social type I belong to some how but don’t identify who I am. These are people who crave parties. It’s like they live only to see others. The same people go back to the same places every weekend, but their satisfaction doesn’t last and they are chronically unsatisfied. I’m always wondering, where does this compulsive need to go out, to dance, to show off come from? What is the relationship between the need to party and the instability and insecurity in Lebanon? Why is there a need to be part of a particular social group? And how do I belong to this place and how am I different? In Nightshift, I approach a different group of people who are trying to go against those Lebanese parties where money comes first (Who has the biggest car? Who has the biggest jewellery? Who has the highest heels? Who has the biggest muscles?). These are the evenings that take place in industrial environments. But again, we find the same concept of existence through the eyes of others and the need to blend into certain social criteria. The factory concept in itself produces identical products in bulk. A bit like those people who go out every weekend to these places.
Are you always only an observer?
I am not only observing, but when I am working on these projects my goal is not to party with them. If I did, this project would not exist. I am inspired by many people but they don’t make me take their photos. It’s a desire and a need inside me that is satisfied by connecting with the reality outside of me.