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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.”