Tag Archives: Men Women

Syria’s Agony: The Photographs That Moved Them Most

Syria has always been a tough place to cover for journalists. Confidently authoritarian with a ruthlessly formidable security and intelligence apparatus, Syria has long been one of the most policed of Arab police states. So when some Syrians defied their government to take to the streets in the southern city of Dara‘a in March 2011, the temptation to cover the story was overwhelming for many, including myself.

The story of the Syrian uprising is ultimately the tale of regular citizens silencing the policeman in their heads, breaking their own personal barriers of fear to speak, to demonstrate, to demand, to reject, to no longer be afraid, to live in dignity. It’s about what these people will do, what they will endure, and what they are prepared to become to achieve their aims.

It is also the story of a significant portion of the population that considers the regime of President Bashar Assad the country’s best option, because they believe in its Baathist secular ideology or directly benefit from its patronage or don’t have confidence in Assad’s opponents and fear what may come next. Understanding what this segment of the population will accept in terms of state violence, the narratives they choose to believe and their concerns is a critical component of the story, though one that is harder to obtain, given the paucity of press visas issued by Damascus.

The only way to tell the Syrian story, really tell it, is to be on the ground with the men, women and children who are central to it, whether in Syria on in the neighboring states that many Syrians have fled to. It isn’t easy to do — the Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York City, has dubbed Syria the “most dangerous place for journalists in the world” — but it is essential. Nothing beats being there. There is no compensating for seeing, feeling, touching, capturing, living the story.

The images here are a testament to the power of being on the ground, of sharing and capturing a moment for posterity, of translating an element of a person’s life through imagery.

Take a look at the photos. Can you place yourself in these situations? Can you imagine what it must be like? What do you feel when you look at the images? Are you drawn into them, or are you repulsed? Can you relate to them, or are they too alien? This is the power of translating on-the-ground reporting to an audience. This is why we must and will continue to document the Syrian uprising from inside the country when we can, and we — members of the foreign press corps — are not alone. Sadly, as is often the case, local journalists (both professional and citizen) have disproportionately borne the brunt of the casualties in this crisis. Still, this story is not about members of the media and what we go through to tell it; it’s about the Syrians who entrust their testimonies, their experiences, their hopes, their fears, their images to us in the hope that they will help explain what is happening in one of the most pivotal states in the Middle East.

—Rania Abouzeid


This collection of testimonies is the third in a series by TIME documenting iconic images of conflict. See “9/11: The Photographs That Moved Them Most” and “Afghanistan: The Photographs That Moved Them Most” for more.

Abouzeid is a Middle East correspondent for TIME. Reporting by Vaughn Wallace.



Photo Stroll – Press preview Tom Wood Men & Women and Shoot! Existential Photography open at The Photographers’ Gallery London

Today, a whirlwind Photo Stroll tour through the press preview today of two photo shows, Tom Wood’s photo show Men & Women, and the shoot-themed collection of photos Shoot! Existential Photography. Both exhibitions open tomorrow at The Photographers’ Gallery in London and run until 6 January. So there’s plenty of time to take a stroll.

These shows combine a diverse range of visual genres and the tenderness of Wood’s beautifully articulated moments offsets the drama of the shoot imagery, such as Christian Marclay’s Crossfire and the various images of gun-toting women, including Fire at Will documenting Niki de Saint Phalle’s ‘shooting paintings’ created in the early 1960s. For those who fancy themselves as the fastest draw in the West (End), there’s even a shooting alley where, if you hit the bulls eye or the surrounding ring (see my attempt, last photo), the camera is triggered and Bingo, you get a photo of you shooting. For more on Men & Women, see earlier post on Tom Wood.
All iPhone photos © Miranda Gavin, 2012.

Click to view slideshow.

Click link to view the gallery images from the slide show…

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Filed under: Photo Stroll, Photographers, Photography Books, Photography Shows Tagged: Christian Marclay, Crossfire, Erik Kessels, Fire at Will, london, Men & Women, Niki de Saint Phalle, Shoot! Existential Photography, The Photographers’ Gallery, Tom Wood