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Matilde Gattoni January 16, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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From the project “The Swallows of Syria,” Lebanon 2012

Matilde Gattoni (b.1974, Italy) decided to follow her passion for the visual arts becoming a photographer. Her work has been featured in TIME, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Observer, Die Zeit, Foreign Policy, Neon Magazine, Geo, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Vanity Fair and Elle magazine Her book Uzbekistan, ten years after independence; published in 2002 was made in collaboration with the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, one of the major experts of Central Asia and Afghanistan. Matilde is based in the Middle East.

About the Photograph:

“This photo is from a project about Syrian women who escaped to Lebanon hiding in small villages a few kilometers from the border. They are at the mercy of the Hezbollah and secret service agents allied with the Assad regime. Here Syrian women live in constant fear of being kidnapped or killed, hiding all day long in filthy basements and makeshift tents, consuming their last, meager savings to barely survive in a country that doesn’t want them. This has been one of the most difficult stories I’ve worked on, none of the women wanted to be photographed for fear of repression. They were shaking so much during the shoot that I wanted to be as quick as possible in order not to traumatize them.”

“Faqaa, 56 years old, comes from Talbiseh, a small town on the outskirts of Homs. Seven months ago, her 31-year-old son Ali was arrested by masked soldiers during a raid on her home. Three days later, his severely tortured body was found in a nearby sewage ditch. He had a huge wound in the stomach, one of his arms was broken and both kneecaps had been removed. She now lives in Lebanon with two of her sons, who work as laborers in the nearby fields to raise money.”

Paul Taggart November 9, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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Hezbollah Rally, Lebanon 2007

Paul Taggart (b.1980, United States) was one of the few unembedded western journalists to cover the month-long battle and siege of Najaf, Iraq, in 2004 between the Mahdi Militia and the coalition forces. Other prominent news stories Paul has covered include Benazir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan in 2007, the dual bombing of her convoy after leaving the airport, the 2004 tsunami in Banda Aceh, the 2005 famine in Niger and the 2006 war in Lebanon, the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti, and the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. Paul’s work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, US News and World Report, Boston Globe, National Geographic Adventure, and the Times of London. Paul also shoots video for Bloomberg News, independent documentaries and commercials and is the co-founder of Lantern Fish Media in New York.

About the Photograph:

“The photograph was taken in Lebanon on Jan. 30, 2007. I had been living in Beirut since 2006 and had photographed the month long conflict with Israel in the summer of 2006. A tension was still apparent in the country a year later and Hassan Nasrallah had given very few public speeches since the end of the conflict. This image shows the crowds of thousands that filled the streets in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. Ashura is a holy day in Shiite Islam commemorating the death of Imam Hussein in 680 in Iraq. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah ended the event with a public speech after the march.”

Laura Boushnak February 27, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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Beirut, Lebanon 2010

Laura Boushnak (b. 1976, Kuwait) began her career covering news for the Associated Press in Lebanon. She later worked as a photo editor and photographer for Agence France-Presse (AFP) at its Middle East hub in Cyprus and its Paris headquarters. Her nine-year wire service experience included covering hard news in conflicts such as the war in Iraq and the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. Her work has been published in the New York Times, The Guardian, The National Geographic, The Independent, Le Monde and Liberation. Her photos has also been exhibited by museums and galleries in New York, Mumbai, Thessaloniki, Beijing, Cairo, Noorderlecht, Aleppo, Manama, Nicosia, Beirut, Oslo and Sarajevo. She received the Peace Media Award from the Peace x Peace organization (Washington, DC) in 2010. She is a founding member of RAWIYA collective.

About the Photograph

“This photograph is part of an ongoing project titled Out Of Beirut’s Project. It’s about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transsexual LGBT community in Beirut- probably the only city in the Arab world where homosexuality is openly discussed and up to a point accepted. I initially started the project for the World Press Photo Organization MENA training program 2010 on the theme ‘active citizenship’. Fortunately a friend of mine provided me with access to some activists, who were willing to be photographed. Most of them wanted to hide their identities and asked for their names to be changed for security reasons as they are faced with discrimination, threats and harassment. Sandy was one of the few who had accepted to show her identity, so during a pro secularism demonstration in Beirut, I kept following her while she was holding a placard which reads in Arabic: Feminism + Secularism = Freedom. “

Mikko Takkunen March 3, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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Shatila refugee camp children in a Beirut amusement park. 2008

Mikko Takkunen (b.1979, Finland) is a Finnish freelance photographer currenly based in Swansea, Wales. Before taking-up photography in the mid-twenties, Mikko studied politics and international relations at Aberdeen University in Scotland. In 2006 Mikko moved to Wales to do a BA Photojournalism degree at Swansea Metropolitan University, finishing in July 2009. So far he has worked on projects in the United States, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Lebanon, as well in the UK besides his native Finland.  During 2009, Mikko was awarded the Runner-Up Prize in the Guardian Student Photographer of the Year and he was also shortlisted in the student series of PDN Annual and New York Photo Awards, as well as the Sir Leslie Joseph Young Artist Award given to a young artist resident in Wales.  Mikko also maintains the Photo Journalism Links website.

About the Photograph:

“According to the UN, there are over 400,000 registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, most of whom reside in the twelve refugee camps across the country. In August-September 2008, I spent a month in Lebanon documenting the work a Palestinian-run NGO Beit Atfal Assomoud, which has aid projects in all of the dozen refugee camps in the country. One of their Shatila camp projects is an annually organised summer school, meant for children who are about to enter first grade in one of the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) primary schools. The majority of Palestinians live separate from the rest of Lebanese society, and the children do not get many opportunities to go outside the refugee camps. The photograph above shows the Shatila summer school children and their teacher during an excursion to an amusement park near the refugee camp.”

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Moises Saman October 15, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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Lebanese border, Summer 2006

Moises Saman (b.1974, Peru) grew up in Barcelona, Spain and then moved to the USA to attend California State University. Shortly after graduating with a degree in Communications Moises moved to New York and became a staff photographer at New York Newsday from 2000-07. Since 2001 Moises has concentrated on covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as projects in Asia and Central America. In 2008 Moises’ work from El Salvador received special mention in the Overseas Press Club “Olivier Rebbot Award” and was placed 3rd in the Magazine Photographer of the Year Award from POYi. In 2007 Moises’ work from Afghanistan received a 3rd prize in the  World Press Photo contest and an Honorable Mention in the UNICEF Photo of the Year awards.  In 2004 Moises was selected for the World Press Photo Masterclass. He is based in Brooklyn, New York.

About the Photograph:

“The conflict between Israel and Lebanon in the summer of 2006 took everyone by surprise. After a brazen cross border raid by Hezbollah guerrillas in which two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped and several more killed in the ensuing fighting, Israel retaliated with a massive air and ground military campaign across Lebanon. While on assignment for New York Newsday i was asked to cover the first two weeks of the war from Israel, basing myself in the northern Israeli city of Nahariya, a city within range of the Katyusha rockets being fired on a daily basis from Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon. The Israeli Army only allowed a handful of journalists to embed with their forces as they invaded Lebanon, and gaining access to the border areas on my own proved extremely difficult.” (more…)

Kate Brooks June 24, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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From the series “Divided Lebanon.” Beruit, 2008

Award-winning photojournalist, Kate Brooks aged 27, of Polaris Images, began working as a photographer in the former Soviet Union while documenting systematic child abuse in state-run institutions. The photographs formed the visual core of the Human Rights Watch report, “Abandoned by the State: Cruelty and Neglect in Russian Orphanages.” Following 9/11 she moved to Pakistan in order to cover the impact of U.S foreign policy both there and in Afghanistan. Since the invasion of Iraq, Brooks has worked extensively in the Middle East. Her clients include Smithsonian, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and UNICEF. She is currently based in Lebanon.

About the Photograph:

Lebanon on the Brink: Hezbollah fighters carried out attacks on Mount Lebanon in predominantly Druse areas two days after Druze leader, Walid Joumblat’s, Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) members killed eight Hezbollah fighters upon entering the Druze area of Ras el-Jaba to set up a checkpoint. Residents in Shweifat suffered significant damage to their property and several people were killed in the fighting. Fadi Al Suki was killed in the fighting. His wife holds his hand before burial.

Alfonso Moral April 25, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Lebanon.
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Druze leader Cheij Abu Suleiman Ali Al-Kademi, Funeral 2007

Born in Valladolid, Spain in 1977, Alfonso Moral graduated from the University of Valladolid and worked as a staff photographer for the Spanish newpaper El Norte del Castiliano. He later moved to Syria and began focusing on the Middle East from where he covered Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq in addition to elections in Afgansthan and the Hezbollah movement in Southern Lebanon. Moral won the Revela photojournalism grant for his work on the Palestinian refugees. His photographs have been featured in El Pais and Newsweek amongst other publications. He is currently based in Barcelona and is represented by Pandora Foto in Spain and Cosmos in France.

About the Photograph:

“I arrived in the town of Rassaye with the intent of photographing the daily life of the Druze from southern Lebanon. It seemed difficult because the day was typical of December in that part of the country, very cold and rainy. Nobody was eager to go out on the street. Throughout the journey from Beirut all villages were empty. A few kilometres from Rassaye there was a procession of hundreds of Druze in vans and minibuses. When I asked one the drivers he said the night before one of great leaders, Cheij Suleiman Abu Ali Al-Kademi, at the age of 111 years was going to be buried. The funeral brought together the highest Druze religious authorities and many neighbors who sang while waiting the arrival of the coffin. The photograph was taken while awaiting the arrival of Cheij. Perhaps the most striking are the Druze dresses, with their distinctive white caps. If placed as points of light forming lines that contrast with the austere space.”

Alfonso’s comment drives home how often strong work can result from the way the photographer reacts to the situation they are in. Maybe this quality is just as important as being able to compose such a fine image? What do you think?

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