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Matilde Gattoni January 16, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.

From the project “The Swallows of Syria,” Lebanon 2012

Matilde Gattoni (b.1974, Italy) decided to follow her passion for the visual arts becoming a photographer. Her work has been featured in TIME, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Observer, Die Zeit, Foreign Policy, Neon Magazine, Geo, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Vanity Fair and Elle magazine Her book Uzbekistan, ten years after independence; published in 2002 was made in collaboration with the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, one of the major experts of Central Asia and Afghanistan. Matilde is based in the Middle East.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is from a project about Syrian women who escaped to Lebanon hiding in small villages a few kilometers from the border. They are at the mercy of the Hezbollah and secret service agents allied with the Assad regime. Here Syrian women live in constant fear of being kidnapped or killed, hiding all day long in filthy basements and makeshift tents, consuming their last, meager savings to barely survive in a country that doesn’t want them. This has been one of the most difficult stories I’ve worked on, none of the women wanted to be photographed for fear of repression. They were shaking so much during the shoot that I wanted to be as quick as possible in order not to traumatize them.”

“Faqaa, 56 years old, comes from Talbiseh, a small town on the outskirts of Homs. Seven months ago, her 31-year-old son Ali was arrested by masked soldiers during a raid on her home. Three days later, his severely tortured body was found in a nearby sewage ditch. He had a huge wound in the stomach, one of his arms was broken and both kneecaps had been removed. She now lives in Lebanon with two of her sons, who work as laborers in the nearby fields to raise money.”