COLFAX, LOUISIANA — Early one evening, I went out for a run. I took a route out by Lake Iatt, passing through acre after acre of logged land, trailer homes and lush green farms. It was an easy out and back, but as I rounded the last corner, I was alarmed by clouds of black smoke that were blowing my way. Explosions crackled in the distance. The sounds put me back in Iraq, where I’d spent a bunch of tours as a photographer, listening to gun battles being fought in nearby towns or neighborhoods.
Came across a mosque overflowing with people attending the last Friday prayers on one of my favorite blocks in New York's East Village yesterday.
Was lucky to work with Dionne Searcey, the NY Times West Africa bureau chief on a story about Afrobeats in Lagos. Followed around the internationally renowned star Seyi Shay and a young man from the roughest Lagos slum who's trying to make it. Highlights: meeting a guy who calls himself "Fuckmoney" with no sense of irony; bumping into an Emir and a King one night at a show; and when Seyi Shay's assistant got so stoned he forgot the hotel elevator card and just went up and down unable to get out at the right floor.
After two weeks in Greece on assignment for UNICEF, I wrote an opinion piece for the NY Times looking at the refugee crisis in that country - essentially Greece as a holding cell for Europe's unwanted refugees.
“Every year, Greece hosts 25 million tourists,” a frustrated aid worker told me, “and to date we have been given 800 million euros in funding for this crisis — but we can’t find proper accommodation for 50,000 people?”
So, I shot a story for UNICEF a while back and The National Geographic ran it this month. We decided we needed a developed world country represented, so we included my family –i didn't think it was fair to make anyone else look like over consuming dicks in this piece. The dog didn't mind.
"She hears the awful sounds in her dreams. They are the moans of a dying girl.
Amina is haunted by the memory. After all, she was the one who handed the girl to Boko Haram."
Canada provides some of the most incredible support to refugee families seeking asylum in the world. From material support to emotional support, the Canadian people and government provide as best they can to welcome newcomers. Multiculturalism there is a concept enshrined by law, and Canadians are proud of the cultural mosaic that exists throughout their country.
If you're in Austria or Germany, please pick up a copy of Datum Magazine and read a long form piece about the success and challenges faced by Sajad and his family who have been living in Vienna for the past year.
I was 17 when I first came face to face with refugees. It was 1995 in Melbourne, Australia, and it was a Saturday. As usual I was out taking pictures of my friends skateboarding. We rolled up to a spot near the state Parliament. Across the street a protest was taking place — Cypriot women calling for the government to help them find their sons who had disappeared during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. I left my friends and took a photograph of the protesters.
I’ve seen people displaced by sub-Saharan African wars that dragged on for so long that their children and grandchildren were born in enormous, forgotten refugee camps. I’ve photographed the Kurds, who have known only persecution — an entire ethnic group that remains stateless. I’ve followed Syrian refugee families into the tumultuous Aegean Sea. I’ve witnessed people trapped at borders and beaten by the police; children separated from their parents, wandering on busy, unfamiliar roads; families literally running for their lives. Sometimes, when they were not fast enough, I’ve seen people murdered.
And yet, in all that time, I have not seen the level of cruelty toward these vulnerable people that the Australian government is perpetrating against the refugees on Manus Island.
Roger Cohen, the NY Times Columnist and I travelled to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea for a couple of weeks in November this year. There, we witnessed how refugees have coped with the Australian Government's policies that have trapped them in almost four years of abuse and detention.
The Raslan family from Syria, who I met as they made their way to Berlin are some of the most beautiful people I've been lucky to meet in my life. For those of you that can read German, here's their story–so far– as they settle in Berlin.
Wrote an opinion piece for the NY Times for a story I photographed on assignment for UNICEF.
Palermo, Italy — LAST year, the news media focused intensely on the European refugee crisis. Some 800,000 people crossed the Mediterranean to Greece, many fleeing wars we had a hand in creating, in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Each segment of their journey was carefully documented by thousands of reporters and photographers.
But there is another humanitarian crisis in Europe we have heard much less about: the roughly 200,000 migrants and refugees who left Africa for Italysince last year. This year alone, some 2,000 have died while making the voyage.
A story I worked on in Nigeria ran in The New York Times, about Boko Haram captives, who are liberated by military and then shunned and further abused by the civilian population.
Zara, who gave birth after being raped by an insurgent, said, “They’ll never forget who her father is, just like a leopard never forgets its spots.”
A story I worked on for The New York Times in Lagos, Nigeria ran in todays paper. Working Nigeria's a rough beat: people can be very confrontational, especially in high stress environments. It's important to remember that Nigerian's, who are served by one of the most corrupt governments in the world, have been forced to act this way to survive, and that a shouting match or a fight is almost never personal.
David Bowie died, and I wanted to shoot something of people marking the loss. I got on assignment for the NY Times, and went around town seeking out different memorials, hoping to find stuff at peoples homes, bars, tattoo parlors. I worked all day but didn't find much beyond the flowers outside Bowie's house in SoHo. The Times ran a photo early, though the stronger image came in after deadline: