paula roush: super-private.
In 2005, two dozen rolls of undeveloped 35mm film were deposited at the Arab Image Foundation. Stored in a bespoke wooden box each film roll was carefully wrapped in protective foil and enclosed in individually fitted drawers. The donor had found them in the family house – carefully protected against Beirut’s dampness and brought them in for conservation and preservation. They were the work of a Lebanese banker born in 1904, know as RS, who died of a heart attack when he was 54.
The people in his photographs were friends and lovers, hinting at a narrative that remained dormant until paula roush arrived in Beirut, 10 years later in the summer of 2015. The mysterious atmosphere in the photographs is beyond strict family conventions – it is of a photo-roman noir including road trips, jet flights and secretive hotel room encounters. Was he following a script? Or did things just happen as life unraveled itself in a glamorous pre-war Beirut and Lebanon? What looked like a family album was nothing of that kind.