Lucien Samaha Archive  |  The Lebanon Section  |  Determining the Dates

In 2012 I began planning a book or rather a catalogue of photographs I took in 1991 of the destruction mostly in Beirut but also around some of the villages I visited.


Despite the fact that at the time I was a member of the launch team of the very first digital camera at Eastman Kodak, the camera was still under wraps and not available for travel. Furthermore, it was so large and cumbersome, it would have been impossible to sneak it into Lebanon, not to mention the risks of carrying it about town.


Once ready to start the editing process, I discovered that the majority of the 120 rolls of film in negative file sheets were not dated, and in fact had no information at all.

Preliminary editing resulted in quick identification of those from the years 1995 and later, leaving me with unidentified rolls from the years 1991 and 1992, with the former critical to the book.


I embarked on a long drawn out process of examining every single frame from 52 rolls of color negative film and 25 rolls of color reversal film in mounted slides, for a total of 2707 images. In hindsight, there were initially a couple of  clues which turned out to be misleading. I resorted to keeping copious notes of connections and comparisons between rolls of film, including items of clothing, windshield stickers, and facial hair, among others. My departure point was a mounted slide with the Processing Date embossed into the mount.