eric bouvet by Maranie Staab

eric bouvet braved the inclement weather side by side with his students at the 2016 @conflictphotographyworkshops.

i was among a small handful of photographers who had the privilege of learning from him (and @jbrussell !) this past november in andalusia, spain. .

i am going back through several thousand images shot during that week in spain — partially because it's always good to let things sit for a while and come back with fresh eyes and partially, i admit, because i am missing what was an intense but beautiful experience.

geary continued by Maranie Staab

last week i shared with you all the story of Geary Rivers, a Vietnam veteran who was one of several hundred individuals forcibly displaced from their homes at penn plaza apartments in east liberty, pittsburgh.

the response was both overwhelming and beautiful. i heard from folks who have had their own experiences with displacement and veteran groups who sought to assist geary in connecting with other veterans. i received offers to help him furnish his home and heard from many who thanked me for putting a human face on “gentrification" -- something that we hear a lot about but rarely see the face of.

and, as many of you saw in that post, i also received an anonymous gift of $500 for geary to treat himself to the new wardrobe that he referenced dreaming about, enjoy a nice meal out or really, use it for whatever he might want or need.

the streets of beirut by Maranie Staab

i am going back through some images taken in lebanon this past october as i consider my plans for 2017. this image was taken during one of my many long walks around beirut and the surrounding neighborhoods. now, looking at it, i am struck by what i recall as a complete sense of normalcy as i walked that street and what i now see as in stark contrast to my reality when in the US.

the desire to get on a plane and step off of it into a new, undiscovered (to me) place is always just under the surface of who i am. most days i am able to quiet that voice enough to allow me to focus on work here in pittsburgh, but some days it demands to be heard. today is one of those days.

good breakfast. by Maranie Staab

"good breakfast" is an old, abandoned restaurant in beirut, lebanon. while i was there late last year it was home to 11 syrian refugees… they had arrived to lebanon in 2013 and had been living here ever since -- as they waited for the war to end so that they could return to their homes. 11.17.16

i am going back through some images taken in lebanon this past october as i consider my plans for 2017.

a beirut slice of life by Maranie Staab

a slice of life ... outside of beirut. 11.09.16

i am going back through some images taken in lebanon this past october as i consider my plans for 2017. this image was taken during one of my many long walks around beirut and the surrounding neighborhoods. 

mr. america by Maranie Staab

mr. america as seen on the backstreets of beirut.

i am going back through some images taken in lebanon this past october as i consider my plans for 2017. this image was taken during one of my many long walks around beirut and the surrounding neighborhoods. 

the desire to get on a plane and step off of it into a new, undiscovered (to me) place is always just under the surface of who i am. most days i am able to quiet that voice enough to allow me to focus on work here in pittsburgh, but some days it demands to be heard. today is (another) one of those days.

the streets of lebanon by Maranie Staab

i am going back through some images taken in lebanon this past october as i consider my plans for 2017. this image was taken during one of my many long walks around beirut and the surrounding neighborhoods. now, looking at it, i am struck by what i recall as a complete sense of normalcy as i walked that street and what i now see as in stark contrast to my reality when in the US. 

the desire to get on a plane and step off of it into a new, undiscovered (to me) place is always just under the surface of who i am. most days i am able to quiet that voice enough to allow me to focus on work here in pittsburgh, but some days it demands to be heard. today is one of those days.

lebanon. by Maranie Staab

i am going back through some images taken in lebanon this past october as i consider my plans for 2017. this image is of a palestinian family that has called the dbayeh camp home for the past several decades. they welcomed me into their home, insisted upon serving me coffee and told me their story.

the desire to get on a plane and step off of it into a new, undiscovered (to me) place is always just under the surface of who i am. most days i am able to quiet that voice enough to allow me to focus on work here in pittsburgh, but some days it demands to be heard. today is one of those days.

a slice of life. by Maranie Staab

slice of life. connellsville, pa. 6:21 pm
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i stood at a window watching these kids play today. as i observed them completely consumed in that moment i was struck by the innocence of youth and reminded of what I recall as a simplicity and magic of life that would soon begin to fade as each year passed. for just a moment, i wished to be them.

by Maranie Staab

i went to my mailbox today and amidst the new national geographic and some bills was an anonymous envelope. the envelope contained a brief note as well as a $500 visa card.

the sender had read my recently published story on Geary Rivers, a Vietnam veteran recently displaced from his home at Penn Plaza apartments and relocated to Wilkinsburg. the sender asked that i deliver the gift card to him so that he might treat himself to the new wardrobe that he referenced dreaming about, enjoy a nice meal out or really, use it for whatever he might want or need.

in time where the validity of journalism is being questioned this example not only reinforced my faith in humanity but it also was a direct example of how important journalism is -- not only for the purpose of informing but also for its capacity to connect us to one another.

his anonymous act of generosity brought tears to my eyes and brought my day into sharp focus. it renewed my confidence in the kindness, empathy and generosity of people. it also underlined what i see as the importance of intimate storytelling and of telling stories that highlight the complexities and nuances of this beautiful life we live. .

onward.

didn't get a chance to read geary's story yet? check it out here 

pa air quality by Maranie Staab

spent some time at a a power plant last week as part of a piece on the air quality in western pennsylvania (spoiler alert : it leaves a bit to be desired)