A bittersweet collection of stunning images taken in Beirut show the immense beauty of its architecture, and the derelict condition that some buildings have been left in following years of conflict. 

Circle Of Trust by James Kerwin
Circle Of Trust. The facade of a residential building in Beirut © James Kerwin

Taken by photographer James Kerwin, the images in Lebanon; a Paradise Lost show both derelict and in use buildings across the country, with special attention given to the capital city of Beirut. According to James, many of the abandoned buildings featured have been left in that state after the 2006 conflict. It includes the facades of residential buildings, a 19th century mansion, a historic theatre and former hammams.

Balcony Views by James Kerwin
Balcony Views. A ruined apartment block hit during the war © James Kerwin

James spent three-and-a-half weeks in total in Lebanon, spending as much time as possible capturing the interesting structures that he came across and had researched ahead of time. According to the photographer, one of his favourite ways to travel is to explore lesser-visited places around the world. “Lebanon has been of interest [to me] for around three years now. [Beirut] is a unique city. It is still recovering, is vibrant and plays host to friendly and passionate locals. When I visit new places, I like to experience more than the photography opportunities – so I tried food, cafes and bars during my time and shall again next month,” he told Lonely Planet.

Pops of Light by James Kerwin
Pops of Light. The interesting ceiling of a former hammam as seen below © James Kerwin

The images showcase traditional Lebanese architecture, some of which dates back 7000 years to the Phoenician period. Forgotten mansions with high ceilings and breath-taking views can be seen, while the series also includes an abandoned train that sits in an old warehouse, and buildings that are missing whole sides.

Triple by pass © James Kerwin
Triple by pass. High ceilings were born from the need for cool rooms during Lebanon’s hot summers © James Kerwin

James runs photography workshops to destinations such as Lebanon, Armenia and Georgia that include transport, accommodation, experiences and focused tutorials on things such as composition and editing.

More of James’ work is available at Instagram page and at his official website.

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