Eye candy visuals of the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque with teal domes, a classic Lebanese home in Barbie pink, and vibrant facades of Saifi Village in the heart of Beirut’s center. This photo serie, titled #minimalbeirut, is the result of a collaboration between photographer Matt Crump and Ryan Houssari, creative director at PLASTIK Magazine in Lebanon. Together, they change the image of the old ‘Paris of the Middle East’ with war-scarred buildings into a minimalist candyland.
Matt Crump is the creator of a digital art movement known as #candyminimal, or ‘candy-coloured minimalism’, a photography project which separates subjects in a photograph and edits them into a candy-coloured image. His electric pastel colour palette consists of aqua blue, hot pink, mint green, neon yellow, orange, and light purple. Together with Ryan Houssari he turned Beirut into a fanciful wonderland that departs from the common portrayal of Lebanon’s tumultuous capital city.
Beirut is a city full of contrasts. Not so long ago, the historic downtown of Beirut was a wasteland of scorched buildings and rubble. Lebanon’s civil war, that ended in 1990, destroyed an area known for its picturesque Mediterranean vistas, Ottoman and French colonial buildings, and Roman and Mamluk ruins. Yet restoration works have taken place in most of downtown Beirut. Stone buildings that delightfully blend Parisian and Ottoman styles have been restored. Seemingly an imitation of Beirut’s past, it is split into a Muslim and a Christian side.
The duo desired to showcase Beirut’s energy and life, a side of the city that outsiders may not have seen before. “My goal for the project was to break the American misconception that Beirut is a scary place. By decluttering Beirut’s environment and applying my happy, optimistic colour palette, people can see the city in a way they never have before and hopefully change their negative views on a region fraught with tension, ” explains Matt.