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Scout Tufankjian June 3, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza, Israel.
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Gaza City 2005

Scout Tufankjian (b.1977, United States) has spent the bulk of her career working in the Middle East, including four years working in the Gaza Strip. Her book on the 2007-2008 Obama campaign, Yes We Can: Barack Obama’s History-Making Presidential Campaign was a New York Times and LA Times bestseller, selling out its first run of 55,000 copies a month before its release date. More recently, she has documented the aftermath of the Haitian Earthquake, and has been working in Brazil, Ethiopia and Turkey on a project documenting the Armenian diaspora. In February 2011 she covered the Egyptian Revolution covering the aftermath of the revolution, particularly its effects on the ultra-religious Salafi community. In the summer of 2012, she returned to the campaign trail as a photographer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.  She speaks conversational Arabic and is based in Brooklyn, NY.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken at an old amusement park just north of Gaza City in March of 2005.  The young women were law school students on a field trip to the park for some relaxation.  In the four years I spent traveling back and forth between New York and the Gaza Strip, I tried to spend as much of my time as I could focusing on the normal parts of life in Gaza – the amusement parks, the family trips to the beach, the hip hop concerts, and the lavish weddings.  The Middle East, and especially Gaza, is too often ‘othered’ and exorcised, when it is largely made up of men, women, and children who want the same things out of life that everyone else does – a job, a roof over their heads, food on the table, school for the kids, a doctor when they are sick, and the occasional trip to the beach or the amusement park.  As a photojournalist, I think it is as, if not more, important for me to show what people have in common rather than to just highlight the differences.”

Alessandro Gandolfi January 9, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza, Israel, Palestine.
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Khan Yunes, Gaza Strip, 2011

Alessandro Gandolfi (b.1970, Italy) is co-founder of Parallelozero Photo Agency (Milan) and his works have appeared in several Italian, as well as international  magazines including: National Geographic Italia, L’Espresso, Die Zeit, Mare, The Sunday Times Magazine and Le Monde. His photoraphs have been exhibited in the latest four shows organized in Rome by National Geographic. A philosophy graduate, Alessandro attended the IFG– School of Journalism in Urbino. Before working as a photojournalist, he contributed as a news reporter for La Repubblica, both in Milan and Rome. He won National Geographic’s “Best Edit Award” twice (in 2010 and 2011) with two reportages published in the Italian edition of the American magazine.

About the Photograph:

“Mohammed Al Jakhbeer is 23 and lives in Khan Yunes, in the Gaza Strip. Mohammed and his friend Abdallah Enshasi are both children of refugees; they do occasional jobs and are among only a few who practice parkour in Gaza. When I found out, I tried to contact them and arranged to meet at Abdallah’s house. While his mother offered us a cup of tea, they explained to me that parkour is fun and makes them feel free, as well as being good exercise. They also told me, however, that old people in Khan Yunes do not always appreciate this strange sport and that many women are scared when they see them jump from one window to the next. ‘Let’s go, follow us, we’ll take you to our new training ground’, Mohammed told me while taking his rucksack. We walked together to the village suburbs. We arrived at a fence beyond which I could see the large cemetery of Khan Yunes. ‘Every day we train here”’said Abdallah while starting to wrap his hands with cotton bandages. I followed them to the cemetery to watch them, and the jumps were truly spectacular. They climbed two metre high walls and ran above them keeping their balance without safety nets or mattresses. They jumped while doing twirls and somersaults. ‘Here among graves and tombs we have found our true gym’ said Mohammed, and our friends often come here to watch what we do or to try and learn. Are we disrespectful because we do it in a cemetery? No, I don’t think so. Nobody has felt offended until now…”

Tanya Habjouqa April 23, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza.
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From the series “Women in Gaza”, 2008

Tanya Habjouqa (b. 1975, Jordon) received her masters in Global Media and Middle Eastern Politics from the University of London SOAS. She spent the last seven years documenting for media and NGOs inside Iraq, Darfur, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territory.  Currently based between Jerusalem and Amman, she is working on personal projects exploring socio-political dynamics and subcultures of the Levant. Tanya received the 2007 Clarion Award for Press Photography for her coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah war for Bloomberg media and the 2006 Global Health Council award for humanitarian photography with her coverage of Darfur. She has been published in the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Focus, Jerusalem Report and others.

About the Photograph:

“In places like Gaza where the devastation is almost unimaginable, I am fascinated by the community spirit and elegance that prevails. Women are continuing to care for their families, strive for education, and pursue careers. This photo was made in the home of Dr. Jamal Al-Shareef, a literature and linguistics professor of Al Azhar university. I nick named him the Dead Poets Society of Gaza as his classes are very popular with the female students of the campus. He holds conversational classes twice a week that are jam packed, and chooses topics like “should women be allowed to go educate in west on their own” or ” why do you choose the fashion you do? Is fashion for you or society” and pushes them to think. Sometimes when they fall into speaking Arabic they become so passionate and he guides them back to English. The girls tell me that this is the only space they have to be creative publicly in an increasingly conservative and difficult Gaza.”

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Holly Pickett March 6, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza.
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Paramedic, Gaza City, 2009

Holly Pickett (b. 1977, U.S.A.) grew up in Butte, Montana. She earned degrees in journalism and history from the University of Montana in Missoula, and was a staff photographer at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., from 2002 – 2007, focusing much of her work on stories about the lives of refugees in the Spokane area. She left the newspaper and moved to Cairo, Egypt, in early 2008 to pursue a freelance career. Holly is drawn to stories about the human cost of war, refugees and forced migration, and women’s issues. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, Stern, Time.com, London Times, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor and Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

About the Photograph:

“A paramedic waits in the doorway of a Palestinian ambulance next to her patient, a 15-year-old boy who was injured when Israeli bombs hit the mosque where he was praying in Gaza City, Jan. 5, 2009. A convoy of ambulances had just crossed Gaza’s border with Egypt at Rafah just after the end of a daily 3-hour cease-fire, agreed upon to allow the transfer of critically wounded Palestinian patients out and to allow aid and medical supplies into the besieged territory. However, the so-called “humanitarian corridor” received its share of missiles. Eleven paramedics and one doctor had been “killed in action,” that is, while driving clearly marked, uniformed ambulances to hospitals or to the border to try to save a patient. The convoy brought two Norwegian doctors who had been working at Shifa hospital alongside the Gazan doctors and nurses for the past 11 days. Dr. Mads Gilbert called the Palestinian doctors heroes and said their homes had been bombed and some members of their families had been killed and they still stayed at the hospital working around the clock, without proper equipment and sometimes without electricity.”

Marco di Lauro September 29, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza, Israel.
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Kerem Atzoma, Gaza Strip, 2005

Marco Di Lauro (b.1970, Italy) took his first photograph at the age of 14 during a vacation in Egypt. His mother taught him how to use the Olympus OM-10 and frame his first  landscapes. He studied  journalism at Boston University and  1993 returned to Italy and received a diploma in photography from the European Institute of Design in Milan. After working as photo assistant-editor at Magnum in Paris Marco paid his own way to the Kosovo in 1997 where he was one of the few photo-reporters on hand when the ethnic cleansing began. Marcothen became an AP staff photographer and covered the 2000 Jubilee of the Catholic Church from Rome. In 2002, Marco began working under an exclusive  contract for Getty Images, covering the Middle Eastern conflict in the Gaza Strip and spent almost all of 2003 and 2004 in Iraq, documenting the American invasion and the drama of the Iraqi people.

About the Photograph:

Angry Jewish settlers are seen on the front door of their house raising their hands in the air as they employ Nazi-era imagery – including stars of David on their T-shirts – in protest against their forced removal by Israeli troops from their home, before they are walked out of their front door to a waiting bus in the Kerem Atzmona illegal settlement outpost in the Gaza Strip. The 12 resident families and hundreds of their supporters were forcibly evicted under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan.

Markus Marcetic May 8, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza, West Bank.
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marcitic_gaza.jpg
View From a Mobile Clinic Window. Qalqilya, West Bank

Markus Marcetic (b.1972) is based in Stockholm, Sweden. After studying media/communications, eastern European and African studies at Uppsala University he switched to photojournalism and has worked as a photojournalist since 1998. Focusing on human rights issues Markus traveled in Africa, Asia and eastern Europe on assignment with numerous NGO’s. Markus has worked for most major Swedish magazines and newspapers and foreign publications. He has also worked as a photo editor for the largest daily in Sweden. He also often lectures on photography and photojournalism and has been awarded prizes in the Swedish Picture of The Year competition in 2004 and 2005. Markus is a member of the Swedish photo agency Moment.

About the Photograph:

“I was in the West bank on assignment for the Swedish NGO Diakonia, an organization I have been working in close cooperation with for years”. Markus has recently published a book called “Kids”. It’s a collection of photos from different stories in Europe, Africa and Asia. “Often these images summed the story I was trying to tell in a way that images of adults rarely do. Children are as much a part of conflicts and human tragedies as adults are, but rarely they get to be the center of attention in stories we read or see in newspapers and magazines. Still around half of the world’s population is made up of children and young people under the age of twenty-four.”

Bill Biggart 1947-2001 April 11, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza, Israel.
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Gaza City, 1994

10:28:24 a.m. on September 11th, 2001 was the precise second that photojournalist Bill Biggart took the final shot of his life. He took his last breath moments later when the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed upon him. Four days later, searchers found his body, his burnt-edged press cards, his three demolished cameras, six rolls of film, and one small undisturbed compact flash card carrying almost 150 digital images. It was the remains of one horrifying day and one extraordinary life.

As a spot news photographer, Bill Biggart chose to cover stories that most interested him, not the ones an editor selected. He focused on presenting the minority side – the Palestinians in the Middle East, the Catholic/IRA “troubles” in Ireland, and the issues of natives, blacks and gays in America.

About the Photograph:

The Palestinian Intafadah uprising in early 1988 consumed Bill. He would return regularly to Israel and Palestine for nearly ten years, sensing it was an immense and important story. While covering the plight of the Palestinian people, he was arrested by Israeli police and beaten for “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Editors note. I’ve chosen Bill Biggart’s work today to honor him and note the opening of the Newseum in Washington DC. Bill’s photographs from September 11th are part of a permanent exhibition there. The Newseum offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.

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