Having sensed that the existing trends were mostly oriented towards replacing the historic buildings of Beirut with modern housing, towering skyscrapers and commercial souks, Maadanjian suspected that the patrimonial heritage of Beirut, which is the sole memento to the city’s architectural authenticity, would be buried in the foreseeable future. In a proactive attempt to mitigate the possible implications of such a radical transformation on our perception of Beirut, Maadanjian thought that the least he could do was to capture the distinct and original face of the city before its impending cosmetic surgery. This was when he started taking photos aimed at documenting the reality of Beirut from 1965 onwards.
In 1976, Maadanjian waited until the Battle of the Hotels ended and the truce was declared to take to those streets and buildings he once photographed and snap new photos of them as they lay lifeless under rubble. The amount of damage and destruction inflicted on the structures shocked him and thus he wanted people to see what he had seen and learn lessons from that, so he took photos of all battle scenes and compiled them in a book.
Maadanjian loved Beirut and made it the center of his work and memories. He carried his life companion, the camera, and roamed the localities of the capital in its heyday. He longed for that heyday when the city suffered and mourned, and scrutinized when Beirut put on its beautiful Phoenician attire once again. Eloquent pages of Beirut’s history come alive in these images.