Yan Morvan: The many faces of a war

In his series on Lebanon in the 1980s, the photojournalist Yan Morvan sheds light on the various actors and sites involved in the conflict. His works can be viewed at Galerie Folia in Paris as well as in a book published by Photosynthèses (Liban, 2018, 472 pages).

Yann Morvan Lebanon war

A man is looking down on you, holding your gaze, as he strikes a brash, nearly arrogant pose, a machine gun cradled in his arms. Yan Morvan photographed this fighter while the civil war was ravaging Lebanon between 1982 and 1985. Exploding bombs, crossfire, bullets falling like hail stones… The photographer documented the everyday life of the civilian population in the war zone, posing them in front of the ruins of their homes. We see little girls playing in a bombed-out car; residents standing before the crumbling façade of their house; soldiers standing guard, guns at the ready and eyes alert. The images reveal a whole world suffering and struggling to maintain the appearance of normal life, even while the country is sinking into violence.

Yann Morvan Lebanon war


“It’s important that we look at these images today so we don’t forget,” says Yan Morvan, adding: “the scenes you are looking at don’t belong to me. I was there simply to show what it was like. My job is to show things.” The photographer’s task is to reveal the quintessence of an armed conflict and our own sense of helplessness before families broken by war, before children who have never known peace… The kids running around in the street have nothing to look forward to but a pile of rubble and a field of ruins. Yan Morvan makes his way into every nook and cranny of Beirut and, against all odds, manages to show that life goes on, for better or worse. Take, for instance, the image of a man walking in the street along a building reduced to a tangle of ruins. The photographer manages to find humanity where death and danger have their dominion. And amid torment, we can sometimes detect a trace of a smile.

Yann Morvan Lebanon war

Yann Morvan Lebanon war

Yann Morvan Lebanon war

Yann Morvan Lebanon war


© Yan Morvan.


Yvan Morvan, "Liban, La Ligne verte"

March 20 to April 27, 2019

Galerie Folia, 13 Rue de l’Abbaye, Paris, 75006 Paris

26 Mar 2019 by Jean-baptiste Gauvin

Trending articles


Wim Wenders by Wim Wenders

From April 18 to 22, a visual installation designed by the filmmaker Wim Wenders will occupy the Nave of the Grand Palais. The exhibition curator, Jérôme Neutres, who came up with the idea, answers our questions.

12 Apr 2019 by Jean-baptiste Gauvin

André Kertész’s windows

Until May 4, the Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York showcases the series Window Views by one of photography’s pioneers, André Kertész. From the time he moved to the United States in 1952 until his death in 1985, the Hungarian photographer created contemplative images by photographing the view from his twelfth-floor apartment window in Washington Square.

17 Apr 2019 by Claire Debost

Miles Aldridge’s aggressively witty mises-en-scène

Until May 4, the Christophe Guye Gallery (Zürich) is featuring the work of the British photographer Miles Aldridge. Entitled Screenprints, Polaroids and Drawings, it spotlights his work in the medium of silkscreen printing, some preparatory works, as well as a selection of his best-known pieces.

29 Mar 2019 by Sophie Puig

Similar articles


France according to Henri Cartier-Bresson

The master’s view of his native country is the theme of an exhibition currently on display at the Foundation bearing his name. The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris presents a moving tribute to the artist who theorized “the decisive moment” in photography.

22 Mar 2019 by Jean-baptiste Gauvin

Gerda Taro, The Forgotten Photojournalist

Today, Google is honoring Gerda Taro’s 108th birthday for the recognition of her  time as a female wartime photographer with a Google Doodle as shown above. she is regarded as the first female to shoot on the front lines of conflict (as well as the first to die while doing so).

01 Aug 2018 by Lisa Scarpa