Photojournalist & film-maker based in Kabul, Afghanistan and available for work anywhere in the world.
Worked in India, Afghanistan, Syria, Nepal, UK, Spain, Norway, Kenya, Turkey and other parts of Europe and the Middle East.
Pictures published in The Daily Beast, The Sunday Times, Maclean’s/Rogers, Aftenposten (Norway), Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), The Australian, IRIN and through AFP.
Film work featured on National Geographic, Discovery, BBC, ZDF, Arte, TV2 (Norway), Doordarshan (India).
Worked on a range of TV documentaries from current affairs and history to human interest and wild life in Asia and Europe, broadcast on international networks like BBC, Channel 4, Discovery, National Geographic, Arts, ZDF and Canal+.
Yuri Kozyrev. Ras Lanuf, Libya
With photography, it’s always a moment. You get it, or you miss it. This was on the front lines near Ras Lanuf, Libya. It was near an oil refinery factory that was important for both sides—both the rebels and government. I took this picture on March 11, when Gaddafi’s military could still fly, and they were flying around, dropping bombs on the rebels. It was really scary for everybody on the front lines—suddenly, you could hear the plane coming and the bombs hitting their targets. These men were the shabab, young people who weren’t professional fighters and didn’t have weapons or training. They’re not rebels, but eager to be on the front lines. They’re jumping because they heard the planes coming, so they’re running around trying to find any place to hide, which is hard because everything is flat and exposed. You can see from the picture that none of them have any weapons—they were scared—and it was just an incredible experience to be there.
Adam Ferguson. Paktika Province, Afghanistan.
I was patrolling with Charlie Company, 2-28 Infantry, 172nd Infantry Brigade 5 km from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border when we were ambushed. The Captain had just made the call to head back to base when bullets seared the still tree leaves around us. Sergeant Daniel Quintana was shot in the first minute of fighting and as the fighting intensified, then waned, the Army Medics worked tirelessly to stabilize him, but it was a losing battle. This was the first time Charlie Company had seen a one their own injured since being recently deployed to Afghanistan, and it felt like it. Soldiers on the periphery of where the Medics worked on Quintana had wired excited stares focused on the surrounding tree lines that provided cover for their enemy. Closer to the Medics soldiers crouched stunned, some cried, others talked to Quintana hoping to stimulate a fading life. Specialist Michael Miller, age 23 from Melbourne, Florida, sat at the feet of Sergeant Quintana, silent, with a glassy haunted stare. I saw Specialist Miller through the drama and crouched my way around to him. I tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned and gazed into my lens I not only saw an image from Afghanistan, but an image that could have been made in Vietnam. His expression wreaked of the same senselessness and confusion, the same futility of a life lost under equivocal circumstances.
James Nachtwey. Kesennuma, Japan.
The house was not destroyed; it was gutted, left like a ravaged beast in a water hole, its entrails exposed. The banal construction materials we all take for granted – insulation, ductwork, posts and beams, became emblems of dread, brutally revealing the fragility of our existence in the face of nature. Below the surface of the river the roof of a car slowly materialized, like a phantom tomb. Four days after a tsunami violently obliterated the north east coast of Japan, the silence and the calm were eerie. Fires from broken gas lines were still burning. The earth and sky were merged, and the floating house appeared as a mirage, taunting one’s sense of reality. How might the world end? During the Cold War, with the threat of nuclear annihilation, we feared it might end in fire. With the melting of the glaciers, the floods in Asia and two major tsunamis in the first decade of the current millennium, perhaps we’ve had a preview of an apocalypse by water.
Chris Hondros. Misrata, Libya
To bring visual order to a chaotic scene. Chris Hondros excelled at this, especially in conflict zones. His composition of the rebel leaning forward, striding up the stairs, the machine gun firmly in his grasp. The fire smoldering on the stairs. There is purpose in this rebel soldier as there was in Chris that day. This is a moment that exists but for a brief millisecond and Chris, like the very best of photographers, had the ability to capture that fleeting instance and make a picture that becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Chris was killed by a mortar round later that same day and I will never be able to tell him how much I admired the picture he made that morning in Misrata.
Dominic Nahr. Mogadishu, Somalia
I have never watched children die in front of me before. Watching their last breath as their chest slowly and with long pauses slightly expand and then deflate again. Until, it suddenly stops. The children who arrived at the Banadir hospital in Mogadishu were in bad shape, but they were the lucky ones. Some of them who made it to the hospital early enough managed to pull through, even with limited medical supplies and overworked, unpaid, and tired nurses. However, for most, it was a place they came to die. Almost all the children I photographed on the second floor in the children’s wing ended up dying. With some I did not even have a chance to know their names or ages. I would return to the room a couple of hours later and the bed the child was lying in before was either empty, or full again with a new child and mother.
Pedro Pardo. Acapulco, Mexico
In this picture, we see the relatives of a person who was kidnapped at dawn from a disco in Acapulco and later killed by being thrown from a bridge in the town of La Cima at the entrance of this tourist destination. As a conflict photographer in the war of the drug cartels, I have learned how to be like a doctor when I look at a violent scene, separating my emotions and observing the deed in an objective way in order to come up with a good image that can inform without being morbid or sensational.
Stefanie Gordon. Shuttle launch
The photo was an unexpected hit that I took from almost 35,000 ft. over Florida, flying from New York City to Palm Beach with—of all things my—iPhone 3GS, and tweeted it out upon landing. I didn’t realize the impact of the photo or the rounds it was making in social media until a few hours later when I looked at my Twitter mentions and all the personal messages I was receiving on Facebook. Next thing I knew, I was being interviewed by media outlets from all over the world, and my photo was on almost every evening news program. I am still in search for that perfect job that many thought would be offered to me after the photo caught fire
Yuri Kozyrev. Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt.
It was my first day in Cairo. I was lucky to find the right place to stay at the hotel, which was facing Tahrir Square—it was my first impression of it. From the balcony, I saw the overcrowded space—thousands and thousands of people—and some of them were helping a man who had lost consciousness. I never had a chance to see what happened with him, but I’m pretty sure that people who were around helped him. That was the atmosphere on the ground; people really took care of each other even if they had different views about Egypt, about Cairo, about revolution. If you could see the picture in detail, you would see more than just young revolutionaries. You see old people, you see really religious people. Everyone was together, and that day was very, very special.
Rift in Paradise
Albertine Rift, Uganda
A tree-climbing lion stirs in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park.
“This photograph is so beautifully executed. The color is magnificent, with the cobalt blue sky in the background and the warm light on the lion. The composition is perfect. Yet underneath all that beauty is a message: Lions are in trouble. Joel Sartore has devoted himself to photographing animals out of balance, endangered, crying for a voice.”
Chris Johns, Editor in Chief
Too Young to Wed
A veil of gauze protects a patient named Zahara from flies in a burn ward in Herat, Afghanistan. Afghan women who set themselves on fire may do so to escape abuse at home, believing they will die instantly. Yet many linger on with terrible injuries.
“This dreamlike photo belies tragedy. Under the soft gauze is the hard reality of a burn ward in Afghanistan; child brides sometimes set themselves on fire to escape arranged marriages. Stephanie Sinclair’s poignant photograph speaks to her commitment to give a voice to those young women.”
Baghdad After the Storm
Moviegoers at Baghdad’s first 4-D cinema get an extra thrill from shaking seats and wind machines during a 3-D sci-fi film. During the worst years of violence, families stayed home to watch TV or DVDs. Most cinemas closed, as did this one, though it has plans to expand and reopen.
“Not only did Lynsey Addario gain access to an undiscovered part of Baghdad; she did it with such flair. The blue light, the projector in the background, the people’s expressions, those crazy-looking 3-D glasses. But you can also see this is a temporary structure, tentlike, and you think, with all they’ve been through, now they can enjoy life, have some fun.”
Taming the Wild
This brown rat’s angry display at the photographer reflects 73 generations of breeding for hostility to humans. Scientists at Novosibirsk and in Germany are comparing the aggressive rat genome to that of rats selected for friendliness, attempting to untangle connections between DNA and behavior.
“It looks like a prison cell with a bunch of mad prisoners, ready to lash out at each other, which is basically what these rats are doing. And the whole frame, the way it moves from not just the aggressive rat but to how the other rats are reacting to him, is a moment that is absolutely unforgettable.”
Orphans No More
Nairobi Elephant Nursery, Kenya
Dedicated keepers at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi Elephant Nursery in Kenya protect baby Shukuru from the cold and rain, and the risk of pneumonia, with a custom-made raincoat.
“This picture means so much to me because it eloquently addresses the powerful connection between the men who have devoted their lives to caring for these elephants and the vulnerable animals that share the strong bond with those men. The orange blanket; the green uniforms of the men; their hands silhouetted, holding the umbrellas. Those delicate raindrops on the elephant’s head. Everything in this photograph works together and has a powerful, emotional message.”
Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia
In a moss-draped rain forest in British Columbia, towering red cedars live a thousand years, and black bears are born with white fur.
“Paul Nicklen is a master at getting closer. He gets close enough to take this beautiful forest with this beautiful bear, eating a salmon, and make it all come together in a photograph that captures your imagination. I feel like I’m there. I can almost smell that forest, the bear. This is Paul’s home. This looks like a photo he took in his backyard of a dear friend.”
Sven Skaltje was saddened to find the carcasses of two female reindeer whose antlers had become entangled during a dominance struggle in northern Sweden. He estimates it took three days for them to die of starvation. After separating the bodies, he saw from the ear markings that one belonged to him and the other to his cousin. Skaltje is much admired by the younger Sami in his herding group, but he is unsure whether the skills he teaches them will endure.
“There’s a timeless quality to this photograph. The deep connection between Sami herders and the reindeer is hundreds of years old. You can see the expression on the man’s face as he pauses in reverence for these magnificent animals. The snow, the dusting across his shoulders: It all works together in a quiet, reflective way that is true to the Sami people.”
Rift in Paradise
North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Rule of the gun prevails in North Kivu, a conflict-ravaged province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Mai-Mai Kifuafua, one of many local militias, flaunts its power on a road where it extorts money from villagers and travelers. For almost 20 years near-constant fighting over land, mining riches, and power has terrorized the people.
“Pascal Maitre has an absolutely remarkable ability to go into the most dangerous, volatile situations and return with powerful images. In places where a civilization is literally coming unraveled, he sees human behavior that needs to be documented, because the suffering is unbelievable. This photograph in Central Africa conveys a sense of energy and immediacy—and it’s also frightening.”
Beautiful Teenage Brains
No elbows, no knees. Their “fight club” had rules. At least one Friday a month, boys gathered after school in the backyard of Bryan Campbell (at far left) to wrestle and box. Campbell’s mother made sure they kept it safe; a bloody nose was the worst injury. The boys often used phones to film their contests, posting the videos to a private Facebook group so more friends could admire their prowess. The rush of a headlock, a bond between friends—their fights delivered both excitement and social rewards.
“To make a memorable picture of teenagers, the picture has to speak across generations and be one of those photographs that when you see it, you go, Aha! Here are two boys wrestling down at the bottom of the frame, beautifully composed. And these two other guys, using their devices to record the two guys down there wrestling. Here they are, absorbed, as they’re participating in complete and absolute horseplay.”
Conquering an Infinite Cave
Minh Hoa, Vietnam
A giant cave column swagged in flowstone towers over explorers swimming through the depths of Hang Ken, one of 20 new caves discovered last year in Vietnam.
“Carsten Peter thrives on adventure. The more difficult the place, the more he wants to go. What’s special about this photograph is its otherworldliness. It truly looks like another planet, because no one’s ever seen it before. And the way the light is balanced between the divers and the stalagmites and stalactites in this huge space—absolutely flawless.