Laugh!

Meet Kassem.....

These days I tend to dawdle along in the slow lane, out of consideration for other drivers---to reduce the impact of "Oh wow", slam on brakes, reverse........ This gentleman was standing on the roadside as we headed to Baalback, he looked so colourful and was impossible to resist!
So I hopped out and started a conversation, explaining that I love taking photos of elderly gents... we soon gathered a group of onlookers, local chaps who knew Kassem, who were half or quarter his age. Kassem is Syrian, a shepherd and has lived and worked in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley for the last 20 years and is originally from Idlib in Syria. He owns 130 head of sheep, sells young males at 3 months when they are about 30 kilos and will get about 5$ per kilo. Having discussed this with my Dad, we feel he's onto a fair earner!

When asked about his age, he wasn't sure...early sixties was his best guess...The crowd were a great help filling in information and interacting so that laughter was plentiful. Meeting, however fleetingly, such wonderful strangers is a tremendously uplifting experience.
It looks like you really captured the spirit of this gentleman. Very nice.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Great candid portrait, Ruth!
posted January 20th, 2013  
What a great face. Brilliant capture.
posted January 20th, 2013  
This is a fabulous portrait Ruth. I love it.
posted January 20th, 2013  
his laughing looks infectious!
posted January 20th, 2013  
What great capture- he looks like he has smiled a lot in his lifetime, and i hope he has lots of reasons to keep smiling~ I'm sure you made his day :D
posted January 20th, 2013  
Oh what a fantastic capture. Massenet looks like a very happy man. I can picture the gathering and laughter. FAV.
posted January 20th, 2013  
You are awesome at this, Ruth. +Fav
posted January 20th, 2013  
Ruth this is a gorgeous portrait. You are so brave to stop along the road and start a conversation with a stranger! He certainly was worth stopping for though.
posted January 20th, 2013  
What a wonderful candid - his character comes right through the lens.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Love this portrait Ruth. You have a way of capturing the very soul of a person! Fav. I also love the fact that you stop and talk to the people and find out all the interesting parts of their life stories, and share those with us! Just beautiful! Thank you
posted January 20th, 2013  
Excellent portrait Ruth!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Great character shot; love that bandana.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Fabulous capture of this gent Ruth!
posted January 20th, 2013  
A wonderful subject! And a wonderful talker too! It's great you got his story! You captured a special moment :)
posted January 20th, 2013  
What an inspirational story - So many times I've passed up opportunities such as this because I'm shy... and this proves what I'm missing! FAV!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Wonderful story and photo!
posted January 20th, 2013  
True, these meetings can be priceless! I can see the positive energy. His smile is so friendly and genuine! Awesome portrait and great job you did!
posted January 20th, 2013  
wonderful photo , he look happy by the look of his face he has had a hard life
posted January 20th, 2013  
Well done. Good story and good picture
posted January 20th, 2013  
I love this picture, it has put a smile on my face on a cold Sunday morning! What a lovely place you live in where you can stop and have these conversations....here people would (largely) look at you like you were insane!!
posted January 20th, 2013  
What a fabulous portrait Ruth and a good tale too.
You need a sign for your car "warning! Keep well back - photographer driving - vehicle liable to sudden unpredictable stops"
And of course this is a fav! :)
posted January 20th, 2013  
@bluefirebucket Thanks Mick....and that is a bumper sticker waiting to be made!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Superb portrait; this chap has a wonderfully photogenic, characterful face which you have captured so expertly.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Brilliant capture - and I can just imagine the atmosphere around the group! Love it!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Wow, what a face! fav. I love the colour in this pic and i love your style of stopping and talking to interesting looking people.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Awesome. Great character and colours...!
posted January 20th, 2013  
bep
FAV! Great character shot, Ruth!
posted January 20th, 2013  
You've captured so much character. Lovely portrait.
posted January 20th, 2013  
This encounter must have left you with a real uplifting feeling...there's nothing like the discussion of the price of stock to get people bonding ,I reckon a good price too! Love his cheerful, happy face! Good DOF too!
posted January 20th, 2013  
this is a super cool portrait
posted January 20th, 2013  
I identify with your driving habits, admire your bravery in asking to take these magnificent shots and am impressed with the skill you have to capture and compose them! Awesome color and clarity.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Love all the laughing lines around his eyes.. he looks so happy and content. glad he's got some friends who gathered around..you're so brave approaching strangers and getting some wonderful pictures.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Great picture of this smiling gentleman.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Great capture.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Love the story & the photo :)
posted January 20th, 2013  
He certainly has a great laugh. It really shows off his character in the portrait.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Brilliant, love how you've captured his personality so well. The clarity and colour is amazing, its so lifelike that he almost comes out of the screen. Fav
posted January 20th, 2013  
stunning portrait! his smile has so much character!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Fantastic, made me smile anyway!
posted January 20th, 2013  
A lovely cheerful portrait! I do love your word and picture portraits of the people that you meet.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Oh Ruth, This is fantastic, The detail & his expression is priceless! Fav : )
posted January 20th, 2013  
Excellent portrait - a fav
posted January 20th, 2013  
Wonderful crisp image. So colorful and full of character.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Brilliant image, that laugh is like a halo around him, he just glows! Fantastic capture and definite fav!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Superb shot, you do these so well. What a wonderful experience to have these people so willing to share with you.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Wonderful shot, Ruth! He looks like a cheerful fellow - he was a great choice to photograph.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Now that's a happy chap...even if you did accost him roadside!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Great photo!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Wonderful. Truly. Fav
posted January 20th, 2013  
His laugh is irresistible! An your story is great. BTW: You're really brave to ask a stranger to be your model.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Really like this his face tells a story one I would like to know
posted January 20th, 2013  
Excellent capture. I love his expression.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Love that smile - excellent shot, and a fav!
posted January 20th, 2013  
what a happy chap makes you smile looking at him
posted January 20th, 2013  
Wow you meet some wonderful people. And you capture them so well.
posted January 20th, 2013  
great,Great Capture of his Happy, Happy Face!, love the colors!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Do you know I think you're performing a national service! All those happy people - and what a brilliantly happy face.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Fav! Love it
posted January 20th, 2013  
What joy you have captured in this man's face! You have such a talent for photographing people and telling their story. Well done, Ruth!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Fantastic shot! FAV!
posted January 20th, 2013  
i have been looking at your portrait shots and find them so interesting. the thing i like about them is that you not only get to capture their faces but their characters as well.n i like what i see. i used to live in muscat in the mid-80's and i find the locals to be very friendly and sincere.
posted January 20th, 2013  
Wonderful capture of a face that's so full of character!
posted January 20th, 2013  
Great portrait
posted January 21st, 2013  
How fascinating. The laughter is just caught in this image. Wonderful shot.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Fantastic portrait and wonderful story!
posted January 21st, 2013  
Lol love your story. This is such a great portrait. Love the joy in his face/
posted January 21st, 2013  
great candid!
posted January 21st, 2013  
Soon as I hit your page: such a smile - and I smiled back. I showed my husband the portrait - he smiled! Thanks for sharing the joy around. What a lovely man and moment
posted January 21st, 2013  
Wonderful, natural, colourful portrait! Well-captured.
posted January 21st, 2013  
You are one of my favorite photographers. Fav. Your portraits are just amazing and I have learned so much.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Ruth I really enjoy your portrait shot. This fellow has a great smile
posted January 21st, 2013  
Beautiful Ruth!
posted January 21st, 2013  
Fabulous portrait. I loved your story!
posted January 21st, 2013  
Came Back to Fav! :)
posted January 21st, 2013  
A fantastic story and shot Ruth!!
posted January 21st, 2013  
this makes me smile! such a fantastic shot of him, you captured a beautiful mood
posted January 21st, 2013  
Amazing capture! fantastic - such a great expression
posted January 21st, 2013  
what a wonderful capture of joy :)
posted January 21st, 2013  
I really, really like this image!
posted January 21st, 2013  
So good!
posted January 21st, 2013  
Congrats on the PP. I had no doubt it would go there since I first saw it. Sorry for Kassem's spelling in my first comment; this knew technology spelling helpers have their own mind and I didn't realize.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Beautiful portrait and a wonderful history of this gentleman's life.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Great portrait. The colour and smile are wonderful.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Great capture! So interesting and full of emotion. Fav!
posted January 21st, 2013  
Beautiful portrait.
posted January 21st, 2013  
congrats on PP!
posted January 21st, 2013  
What a charming man! Impossible to not smile after seeing his smile.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Love this - and how interesting to hear the background! He does look like he is happy within himself... looks like he would be great company!
posted January 21st, 2013  
Really enjoy your shots, Ruth ! Great captures of real life both in your pictures and in your writeups. Reminds me of Mimo's work, but these shots are uniquely you. I'm a fan :)
posted January 21st, 2013  
@janim Thanks Jani! have found Mimo's fb page and had a look....You already know that I am a tremendous fan of yours!
posted January 21st, 2013  
A fabulous fav! - One can almost read his story from your detailed, colourful portrait. Love your text - you really do make an empathic connection.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Stunning! You captured his energy perfectly, amazing shot!
posted January 21st, 2013  
This is so wonderful, and par for the course with your delightful shots. Congrats on the PP
posted January 21st, 2013  
What a beautiful capture: he looks so happy. I hope you found/find some way of getting a copy of the picture to him.
posted January 21st, 2013  
I love this man...It's a lovely natural, happy photo and a great back story to it too. Well done on the PP.
posted January 21st, 2013  
Great street candid, love it!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
perfect framing and fantastic back story
posted January 22nd, 2013  
It is so good to see people laugh and not hold back! Another amazing portrait Ruth! Isn't it interesting so many middle easterners don't know their birthday?
posted January 22nd, 2013  
What a beautiful smile
posted January 22nd, 2013  
@skipt07 Thanks Skip, I think that it has to do with the registration.....60,70, or 80 years ago parents were allowed at least 6 months to register a birth, this, of course, had to be doe by the father, and they commonly forgot the exact date and probably put down whatever came to mind!! Ih also has no bearing on some people's lives, they possibly only went to school for a few years or never at all, may well be illiterate.....all the official forms that are so important in our lives are not needed in theirs!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
@ruthmouch - I kind of wondered if birthdays were as big of a deal as it is with westerners. It makes sense about the fathers not remembering. I have a hard time remembering when my children and grandchildren were born.
posted January 22nd, 2013  
@skipt07 - that is supposed to be, weren't as big of a deal.
posted January 22nd, 2013  
@skipt07 Generally with these type of folk I'd say no......Birthday cards are a recent arrival here, are extremely expensive and only exist in expensive malls of Beirut....not a place you will ever find this gent.
posted January 22nd, 2013  
Oh, what a great laugh, love it!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
Such a happy, contented face!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
noice portrait !
posted January 22nd, 2013  
Wonderful happy portrait. sounds like a fun stop!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
Wow!! Ruth!! what fabulous capture. I like taking pictures of old age people too. I uploaded recently this one...Tell me what do you think bout this one http://365project.org/hemu/365/2013-01-18
posted January 22nd, 2013  
Your portraits are brilliant, you capture so much emotion in them! Do you process them much?
posted January 22nd, 2013  
Beautiful shot, love the smile. And i love the story with it, great job!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
@domstarr My processing abilities are pretty abismal....but I do adjust if over bright and sharpen a tad.
posted January 22nd, 2013  
@ruthmouch So you just take brilliant portraits then, standard! :)
posted January 22nd, 2013  
Another gorgeous portrait! Got to be another Fav!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
@domstarr LOL!!!!! well.....no....plenty in the bin too!!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
A fav for me! I avoid portraits and so admire those of you who can ask a complete stranger for a photo... the smile on his face is priceless! Wonderful light, color and dof!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
He has a great face, fantastic pic!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
AWESOME bright color helped get this to the PP! Good for you!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
This is a beautiful photo, great job!
posted January 22nd, 2013  
what a fabulous portrait! :)
posted January 23rd, 2013  
LOVE it!!
posted January 23rd, 2013  
I sighted this on the PP and knew it was yours without looking. Brilliant . Fav!!
posted January 23rd, 2013  
Wonderful capture, made me smile.
posted January 23rd, 2013  
Magnificent capture! Absolutely radiant.
posted January 23rd, 2013  
What a fantastic catch
posted January 23rd, 2013  
Fabulous portrait
posted January 23rd, 2013  
Such character and you can tell he's a real character!
posted January 24th, 2013  
such an honest photo, of true emotion!
posted January 24th, 2013  
Wondeful shot of happiness!!!
posted January 25th, 2013  
What a warm and wonderful smile--the splash of red adds to the happy feel of this image.
posted January 25th, 2013  
Congrats on making the top 10 with this amazing portrait. FAV, of course!
posted January 25th, 2013  
Congratulations on top 10 :)
This was a fantastic portrait full of life
posted January 26th, 2013  
this is a terrific shot. love it. FAV
posted January 26th, 2013  
So happy to see this shot on the T10. I really loved it from the first moment.
posted January 26th, 2013  
No.10 for the week Ruth. Congrats and well done.
posted January 26th, 2013  
A well deserved place in the top list
posted January 26th, 2013  
So glad this made it to the Top 20! congratulations!
posted January 26th, 2013  
Brilliant - so pleased to see this chap in the top 20, another reason to smile back at him :)
posted January 26th, 2013  
A fabulous portrait Ruth. To me it drives home that people are people. Wherever.
posted January 26th, 2013  
Not at all surprised to see this photo in the top 20 - well done !
posted January 27th, 2013  
Really, really wonderful. You are such an inspiration. I love that you really talk to these people. Fav.
posted January 27th, 2013  
I just love the spirit of this photo! It makes me happy.
posted January 27th, 2013  
What a great looking gent he is too ...smashing shot & story Ruth
posted January 27th, 2013  
Excellent Portrait. Love his laughter! I also love that you always tell us a story and I read every one and always enjoy them! Thanks so much for sharing you side of the world with us!
posted January 27th, 2013  
Well done on the T20 Ruth. A fabulous shot.
posted January 28th, 2013  
He has such a great smile! Congrats on the top 20! Well deserved!
posted January 28th, 2013  
I've been MIA, so just seeing this now. Fave, of course, exquisite portrait and commentary. Congrats on T20, so very well deserved!
posted January 28th, 2013  
FAV!.....and a great reminder of the possibilities that arise when you are looking for them and have a great attitude. Thank you so much for the backstory...it's good to know that, through actual human interaction, we can attain great pics and have great happy moments with people.
posted January 30th, 2013  
Fav. Congrats on the top 20, great shot Ruth!!!
posted January 30th, 2013  
Wonderful portrait. You've captured such joy on his face.
posted January 31st, 2013  
Somehow I`ve missed a lot of pic. of you to comment. I`ve seen them now and I apologize for not comment all . I do love them , it give`s a great view of the part of world you live in
posted February 3rd, 2013  
beautiful expression in his face, amazing shot
posted February 13th, 2013  
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