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Orianne Ciantar Olive


Poems: Orianne Ciantar Olive 

Postface: Sabyl Ghoussoub

The project The Circular Ruins takes us to a contemporary South Lebanon, nicknamed Nabil (the inverted version of “Liban”, meaning Lebanon in French) where neither the Sun nor death can look each other in the eye.


Spearheaded by photographer Orianne Ciantar Olive, the project tackles the issues of violence, occupation and forced exile, which have cyclically affected the territory for decades, and how these events impact both individuals and communities.

Through the visual research and experimental approach to the photographic medium, this body of work takes a sensitive look at the unfolding disaster, bearing witness to the complexity of territories in the making.

Inspired by philosophy, literature, and poetry - the works of Etel Adnan, Jorge Luis Borges and Mahmoud Darwich in particular - The Circular Ruins is a photographic essay halfway between a metaphysical journey and a documentary account, rooted in the land of southern Lebanon and right up to the wall of Kfar Kila. An emblematic and empirical example of the endless repetition of history, including violence, forced exile and the impossibility of achieving peace, the wall becomes here, through a game of inversions, the prelude to an actuality that reveals itself in the shadows of reality. The use of inverted names, fictitious identities, inverted films and solarisations aims to reveal another side of history. By approaching the question of disaster visually, and by creating a dialogue between external tensions and internal conflicts, this project reveals the complexity of the future within a territory under constant threat from partisan or colonialist impulses.



French & English

138 pages

52 color photographs

22 B&W photographs

Graphic Design : Bureau Kayser

Format: 16 x 24 cm

Spiral metal binding


-     Arena Rough

-     Sirio Pearl

-     Splendorlux 

Print run: 1000 copies

ISBN: 978-2-9576132-2-9



Born in Marseille in 1981 to a Maltese mother and a Franco-Swiss father, Orianne Ciantar Olive's youth was shaped by moves and travels that took her from Europe to the Americas. With degrees in cinematography, criminology and journalism, she has been an international photographer and journalist for some fifteen years, while at the same time pursuing a more personal body of work based on research.

Her photographic approach combines philosophy, poetry, history and visual research. The question of becoming is central to her work, as is her research and experimentation into the shifting of the gaze.

In 2022, she won the Maison Blanche prize, the CNAP grant to support contemporary documentary creation, and the Filles de la Photo mentoring programme, which culminated in a group exhibition at Photo Saint Germain the following year.

At the same time, she founded the Stuck In Here platform, which disseminates photographs and testimonies from young people trapped in war situations. She is also co-artistic director of Lose Control, which aims to harness the power of images for the public good.




British Journal of Photography



PHOTO Magazine

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