Just a few years ago Homs, Syria was a flourishing city of approximately 1 million people. Today, much of the city lies in ruins due to the civil war that continues to rage between the Syrian government and the rebel forces. Despite the destruction and violence that has ripped lives apart and resulted in a refugee crisis, one couple and their photographer wanted to demonstrate how “life is stronger than death,” the Washington Post reported. Hassan Youssef and Nada Merhi, along with their photographer Jafar Meray, went to Homs to take their wedding pictures. With the hollowed out buildings as the backdrop, Hassan and Nada’s romantic pictures were stunningly beautiful because they showed that love never fails. Radical extremists have wreaked havoc, forced people to leave their homes, torn families apart, and shattered hopes and dreams. By capturing resilience and undying love in this couple that has risen from the ashes of this brutal war, photographer Jafar sent a message that violence and hate will not drown out the power of love.

Another amazing reality that Jafar was able to show in Hassan and Nada’s wedding pictures is that love perseveres. Seeing the buildings falling apart in the background make it evident that rebuilding Homs will take decades. In the photos, Hassan wore his military uniform, showing the viewers that this war is not over and there is still fighting to be done. Amidst piles of rubble and overgrown weeds, Nada’s white dress stood out like a light in the dark. Using Homs as their backdrop, it was like the couple was saying: “This is our story. We’ve seen horrific things and stared death in the eyes many times. But we’re not going to let the hate of others ruin what we have for each other.”
What Jafar captured in Hassan and Nada’s wedding pictures was so much more than just two people who fell in love. The pictures represent a nation that has faced atrocity after atrocity over the last several years with no real end in site. Once stable citizens have been forced to leave their lives behind and go try to make a new one in a foreign land. Homs is only a “shell of its former self,” as stated in the Huffington Post. The city will truly never be the same and the people who lived there may never fully rebuild their lives. But seeing Hassan and Nada’s wedding pictures taken in this ruined city demonstrates that there is hope for the future because love never fails.