Tag Archives: Patronage

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 News – Laura Noble issues open letter about closure of Diemar/Noble photography gallery and launch of new L A Noble Gallery

Today Laura Noble sent out an open letter to her network about the closing of the Diemar/Noble Gallery, billed as “one of the capital’s top spots for photography” (see below). The word was out and about on twitter where followers commented on the demise of the gallery. However, it’s not all bad news as from the ashes new things – the L A Noble Gallery – are created, so I’m sharing the letter with you all:

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness I write to tell you that, after three amazing years, Diemar/Noble Photography has closed its shutters for the last time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for your support. Without the patronage of clients and visitors, the enthusiasm of the press and the ambition and talent of our artists, we would not have achieved so much in such a short time.

Diemar/Noble was always more to me than a gallery, it was – and remains – a community. If the legacy of the gallery is to leave even a little more passion and excitement for photography in this City, then it is an achievement I will be very proud of.

Without you sharing in the vision, the gallery could never have hoped to become “one of the capital’s top spots for photography” (Time Out) over such a modest time. I hope you can share my pride in all that the gallery has achieved.

My time as Co-Director at Diemar/Noble has been a life affirming one and deepened my love for all things photographic. The opportunity to explore different avenues in the future may have drawn this venture to a close but my commitment to photography remains and the next chapter promises to build on that. My involvement with photography is an on-going and passionate one. I will continue to carry out portfolio reviews and consultations, lectures for photographers and collectors as well as my other writing and curating projects.

Most exciting of all, I have now established the L A Noble Gallery, which I shall be launching at the Unseen art fair in Amsterdam on the 19th of September. The lauraannnoble.com website will also be launched on the same day.

Now looking forward to my next challenge, I am excited to see what the future will hold for myself, the photographers with whom I work and those exciting new talents we have yet to discover.

I do hope that you will stay in touch and join me for future endeavors.

Yours faithfully in gratitude,

Laura Noble

Filed under: Art Galleries Tagged: closing, Diemar/Noble Photography, Laura Noble, london, photo gallery, Unseen art fair