I have worked in Lebanon as a fixer for news and media production companies since 2003, from advance scouting and investigating to full logistics during filming.
During this time I travelled all over the country, often independently, seeking out and photographing locations, characters and stories from housewives and archaeologists to armed militias. Documentaries I worked on include: Globe Trekker, Excellent Adventures, Spice Trails, Beirut City Guide etc.
Having your own fixer representing you on the ground means you have a responsive and responsible individual who will be covering all angles and reporting back regularly as well as representing your interests with the local production company (if you need one). It relieves much of the pre-shoot pressure to know that things are in hand, and to have someone to call with questions, requests and clarifications. You’ll have experienced eyes and ears on the ground to anticipate and address issues before they become problems.
Lebanon is a beautiful and varied country. It has everything a film crew could ask for – beautiful natural scenery, great beaches, mountains, vineyards, architecture, night life, amazing archaeological sites, great and varied food and, above all, a warm and welcoming people who are brimming with character.
On the other hand, Lebanon is a fragmented, restive country and filming there poses certain challenges, mainly dealing with local authorities (official and unofficial) to allow us to film. It takes a degree of cultural sensitivity, understanding the issues and poise in communication and negotiation. And remembering that one little thing could make or break a shoot. There are also some security and cultural issues that people working there, be it for news or documentaries, must be aware of and accommodate.
I also worked extensively as a fixer in Lebanon for news organizations such as BBC, VOA, CNN, and News International on a wide range of stories. The work ranged from independently investigating and reporting stories to accompanying visiting reporters and film crews.
– The assassination of ex Prime Minister Rafic Hariri extensively from the day of his assassination (Feb 14, 2005) through to his burial and the following upheavals in Lebanon that became known as the Cedar Revolution.
– Extensive coverage of the 2006 Israeli bombardment both from Beirut and from the south of the country where the bombing was at its most extensive.
– The bombardment of the Nahr al Bared Refugee camp in North Lebanon and the ensuing exodus of refugees to neighbouring camps, as well as the full gamut of issues regarding the plight of the Palestinian refugees in camps in Lebanon. I have visited every camp on one occasion or the other, and I have intimate knowledge of the meanest of them.
To see more of my pictures from around the Middle East, please visit www.zumapress.com (contact me if you need login details).