Little was known of Jaafar Meray until his photos of a bride and Syrian army soldier groom surfaced on the internet in February.
The 22-year-old French literature student decided to stay in his hometown of Homs in Syria instead of fleeing the conflict like thousands of his countrymen did.
When you are desperate and you suddenly see such drawings, you really become happy and have the hope again to live in Syria.
He chose to stay, in an attempt to present another side of the war-torn country with his photographs to convey a message of hope and peace.
“I wish to display hope and show the world that we can seek happiness in the ruins, because with every destruction there is still hope and happiness,” said Meray.
Meray uses the ruins of war, which represent desolation and sadness as the background of his photos to present the happiness and hope he longs for his country.“We lost around 13,000 lives in this region. We are trying to show the whole world that the blood of these martyrs is not cheap.”
Alongside his remaining friends, they are also painting buildings ruined and riddled with bullet holes to commemorate their compatriots killed in the war and cheer up for the war-stricken Homs.
Meray’s paintings have drawn attention from soldiers and residents who would stop and stare at the ruined and re-decorated buildings when they pass by.
More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict and Meray’s mission is to bring hope of living in Syria in safety and stability.