Documentary Photography in Conflict Zones

“Landscape” and “documentary” are two of the most celebrated genres in the photographic arts. These traditions are also the inspiration for the photographic images in my primary area of work as a historical geographer focusing on what is arguably the world’s most intractable geo-political dispute – the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. “Photographs furnish evidence,” the cultural critic, Susan Sontag conceded in an otherwise critical examination of the documentary genre in her work, On Photography (1973). The photographs in this collection for Photography Life build on Sontag’s observation in an effort to reveal how aspects of this protracted conflict have become embedded in the Palestinian landscape.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs © Gary Fields 9

While the Israeli / Palestinian conflict has generated impassioned debate about its causes and consequences, there is little debate that these hostilities have altered the patterns of daily life for both Israelis and Palestinians. At the same time, most observers who travel to the region would probably admit that everyday life on the Palestinian side has been transformed in a more fundamental way. Despite the recent lull in hostilities, the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza are conflict zones. In these areas photographers confront very specific rules established by military authorities limiting the type of images that can be taken, along with cultural conventions that place certain subjects out-of-bounds.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (12)

In the Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli military, which is the ruling authority, sets these rules which prohibit photographers from taking images of anything military in nature. This rule, however, is often ambiguous because the parameters of what is “military” are open to interpretation. Even military authorities themselves differ in interpreting this rule.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs © Gary Fields 10

One such ambiguity typically occurs at checkpoints inside the West Bank that are staffed by Israeli army personnel but where Palestinians pass in order to move from one town or city to another. These spaces, where civilians from one side of the conflict and soldiers from the other come into direct contact, are arguably the most ideal location for documenting everyday life in a conflict zone. More than any other element, the checkpoint is what contributes to the partitioned and fractured landscape that makes the daily life in the region so difficult.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (6)

I have photographed innumerable West Bank checkpoints and have encountered a variety of different situations. On a limited number of occasions I have asked – and have been granted – permission to take photos from the Israeli commander at the checkpoint. In most instances, however, army commanders are reticent to allow such access and the photographer wanting to capture such images faces a difficult decision. Nevertheless, in the absence of permission from a checkpoint commander, there is a way to sense what the individual soldier might do when taking photographs in these areas by observing the interactions between the soldiers and the Palestinians waiting to pass through the checkpoint turnstiles. Using this calculus, I have been able to take photos at checkpoints without much difficulty. At the same time, it is worth noting that I normally ask Palestinians waiting in the lines at checkpoints for permission to photograph them. Many of them do not want to be photographed in such situations, but the majority have given me permission to take their images. For the most part photographing the faces of Palestinian women is off-limits for cultural reasons although here as well, it is possible to ask and obtain permission for such photos.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (17)

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (2)

Photographs of the landscape can also be problematic because of restrictions on taking photos of military subjects. When the state of Israel constructed a Wall ostensibly to protect its citizens from Palestinian attacks, the military engineers who designed and constructed the barrier placed guard towers at certain intervals in the structure. On one occasion when I was photographing this Wall in Bethlehem, two soldiers came out of the towers and stopped me, demanding that I show them the images from my SD card. They made me erase several images of the Wall that revealed one of these guard towers claiming that these structures were military subjects. This incident, however, proved extremely rare.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (16)

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (8)

Documenting Palestine in Photographs © Gary Fields 20

Undoubtedly, the most difficult and dangerous set of circumstances facing the photographer working in this conflict zone occurs when Palestinians and Israeli soldiers confront one another during acts of resistance to conditions of military rule. Such situations arise during the many protests against Israeli authorities that occur in Palestinian towns. Most of these demonstrations have targeted the Wall built in West Bank areas – notably in the towns of Bil’in, Budrus, Jayyous, and Nabi Saleh – that prevent Palestinians from reaching their agricultural land. Israeli soldiers routinely disperse protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets. Such conditions subject anyone photographing these protests to the same dangers from tear gas and rubber bullets faced by demonstrators.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (15)

Gaza offers a far different set of challenges. In Gaza, it is essential as a photographer to have a “fixer” to help navigate the unique political and cultural circumstances existing there. In Gaza the security situation is more dangerous and photography of any kind by foreigners is not possible without a local person who can mediate with the authorities from Hamas, and explain to the local people what the photographer is seeking to document. In this sense, finding a good fixer is arguably the most important photographic element in Gaza. A skilled fixer can find compelling photographic subjects, and can ensure that one can aim the camera lens free of political restrictions without transgressing cultural boundaries.

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (3)

While many of the photos in this collection testify albeit silently to these hazards, the environment of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza offers photographers unique opportunities to capture images of people coping in their daily lives with difficult circumstances. These images for Photography Life emphasize such opportunities in seeking to reveal the dignity of human subjects in the face of adversity. In this sense, the camera is also a formidable weapon in a conflict zone. The camera lens can open vistas into worlds often concealed from view enabling the photographer and the viewer alike to gain a sense of multiple truths from a field of vision and different understandings of what lies inside the frame.

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Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (13)

Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (11)

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Documenting Palestine in Photographs - © Gary Fields (1)

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This guest article was contributed by Gary Fields. Gary Fields is a professor at the University of California, San Diego. His forthcoming book entitled “Enclosure: Landscapes of Dispossession in a Historical Mirror” compares landscapes and conflict in early modern England, the Anglo-American colonial frontier, and contemporary Palestine.

All Images Copyright © Gary Fields, All Rights Reserved. Copying or reproduction is not permitted without written permission from the author.

Note from Photography Life: Photography Life does not endorse or promote ANY sort of violence. This article is related to documentary photography in conflict zones and in no way represents our political, cultural or religious views. We sincerely ask our readers not to bring up any political discussions in the comments section. Please stick to the topic, or we will have to moderate such discussions.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Anna
    October 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Please don’t turn this blog political. We get enough politics everywhere else and this blog was a nice respite. Statements such as “Undoubtedly, the most difficult and dangerous set of circumstances facing the photographer working in this conflict zone occurs when Palestinians and Israeli soldiers confront one another during acts of resistance to conditions of military rule.” from the poster clearly show a bias. We’re all allowed our own biases and judgements, and this posting is laced with political biases (to which the poster is perfectly entitled). At the bottom of the post, there is a statement asking the commentators not to bring up politics, but the article itself is bringing it up.

    Other than “Nikon vs Canon” which could be a heated debate, I’m not looking for ANY political information here. This was not a photojournalism site, but rather a photography site, though I see how a photojournalism slant cold be relevant here. Please, PLEASE keep this site focused on just photography, PLEASE keep it non-political. :) Whenever you have a topic as hot as the Middle East conflict, the article writer’s politics come through, especially in photos. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the poster is irrelevant to me in my comment, I am just hoping there won’t be any more political pieces. And why pick this one if it’s just for “conflict landscape”? Why not Ireland? They only recently stopped bombing each other (Catholics vs Protestant, right?). Or why not the Basque in Spain? The mere selection of topic seems political too.
    PLEASE no more politics. I think we get too much of it everywhere else.
    Just my opinion. Hope nobody is offended.

    • October 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      Anna, there is a simple answer to your questions. Why not Ireland? Why not Spain? Because no one sent in those articles. We posted this article because it is a good example of documentary photography. The author describes one side of the events, because that is the side he had a chance to capture. We do not care about the politics. Not one bit. What the images do show, however, is that people are suffering. Both sides. It is a good example of strong documentary photography that shows real problems, and that is all. That is why this article is posted.

      We are not here to take sides. You know there is a saying – one who searches always finds. Perhaps that is why you saw it as being political. I assure you, we are not. In any case, we hope any further comments will be regarding documentary photography and working in conflict zones as an objective photographer, not about the politics between Palestine and Israel.

      • October 28, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        Roman, while I accept and respect your reply, I just want to say that the pictures do not show two sides suffering, they show one side suffering. My comment below shows an example of two sides suffering. Sorry if this comes off as political, but it’s a fact based on the images in the article which by the way are very impressive.

        • October 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

          Exactly, Oded. They are impressive, good examples of documentary photography. They do show one side – yes. That does not mean there isn’t another, as you said yourself. And because this article shows one side does not mean it is the one we support. Politics are not why we published it. It was the images.

          • October 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm

            I’m sure there were no politics behind the publication, the article goes to great lengths to walk very gently between the lines while describing the conflict, and I think it is doing a very good job of trying to focus on the photography, which is commendable (many other websites fail very quickly in that regard).

            Thanks.

            • October 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

              Thank you, Oded!

            • 36
              ) Motti
              October 30, 2013 at 7:45 pm

              It is political and one sided. Period. Lacing it with the color of “art” and “photography” does not make it any objective.

              I am with Anne, there is no place for politics in this blog. It is your right to put whatever you want but it will then lose what it took so long to gain.

        • 19
          ) aBg_rOnGak
          October 28, 2013 at 6:42 pm

          “The author describes one side of the events, because that is the side he had a chance to capture”

          It clearly says that the author only had the opportunity at one side only, and not the other…so what we can see only came from one side….

    • October 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Anna, not planning to go political at all – Gary sent the article with photos and we thought that sharing it with our readers would be beneficial for those interested in photographing in conflict zones. As to why this one in particular was picked, it is not like we had an array of different articles on different conflict zones come to us and we chose this one – if there were others on Ireland or Basque, we would have posted those too. That’s why we specifically added the footnote from PL.

      As for bias, I honestly did not see anything wrong with the sentence you pointed out or this article as a whole. Yes, images show struggles on the Palestinian side, but that’s what the author documented in first place. Obviously, there are two sides to every situation and I am sure someone else could also document the Israeli side, which we will gladly post.

      Again, the article was not posted to provoke any political debates or discussions. Documentary photography can often be confronting, graphic and even biased depending on what is photographed / documented, no matter what conflict zone is looked at – Africa, Middle East, India/Pakistan, Ireland, etc. Remember the fallen soldier picture from the Spanish Civil War? Or the graphic images of bombings in London, Moscow, Afghanistan, Iran, etc? They all have their own perspective in each picture and story…

      • 20
        ) Anna
        October 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        Thanks Nasim,
        It makes sense that you didn’t publish about those other regions because you don’t have those articles. I wasn’t sure how guest post happen here and your reply shed some light on it in this particular case (Gary contacted you). Gary does try very hard to remain neutral, but to my eye, there are some slip-ups, but that’s not a big deal, I’m used to that. And yes, the images are powerful. Because of their power, and maybe especially because of their power, I think one needs to be careful as to how that power is used. (I think nobody would argue that photographing wars or conflicts or strife is an incredibly powerful way of showing to the world what’s going on. I believe nobody would argue that such photography has changed the course of global events. Think about Vietnam or even more recently in Bosnia, or Africa, or anywhere else for that matter. ) Photos, visual evidence, affects us on a visceral level, much more so than if the same story only had words and no photos, or we heard the same story from someone else. What a photographer captures is up to his or her discretion (provided the military in the region allows/doesn’t erase), just as what he or she publishes to the world, and that’s an incredible power and responsibility. As the saying goes “an image is worth a thousand words”, but those words are our own interpretations. Gary captured some great photos of daily life in a conflict area, things we almost never get to see.
        What I was trying to say originally, and apparently failed miserably at, is that in a hot topic (any hot/controversial topic), there are sides and if we’re talking about not taking sides and remaining neutral, but showing only one side, it doesn’t come across as balanced/neutral. Oded did a great job showing “the other side” in his post, and maybe I was hoping to see that from Gary.
        I visited some of those areas not too long ago, and did pass through that wall in Bethlehem. I still can’t adequately express the sadness and other emotions I felt on that short visit to the area.
        Hope I didn’t derail the discussions and again hope that I didn’t offend anyone.

        Looking forward to new publications from Photography Life. :)

        • October 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm

          Anna, I am sure you did not offend anyone. Thanks for understanding!

        • 33
          ) Jorge Balarin
          October 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm

          Gary was “neutral”. He didn’t invent anything with his camera. It is a fact that everyday life in Gaza is very, very much more harder than everyday life in Israel, and a “neutral” photo reportage inevitably is going to show this reality.

    • 7
      ) Rick Keller
      October 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Anna,

      I respectively disagree. This article is not about politics, but rather a brief examination of the challenges and hazards that confront the modern-day documentary photographer/photojournalist in documenting and reporting stories/events in the most hazardous corners of the globe. The Middle East is no exception. The author of the article is advancing no political agenda here whatsoever.

      More than anything, this article is a refreshing change of pace from my chief complaint with this website, and that is the (relative) paucity of the examination of true photography, including, but limited to, capturing the emotion, the message, and the story of a scene/event as envisioned by the artist holding the camera. Bravo, Photography Life, and Nasim.

      In my humble opinion, Mr. Fields’ piece allows readers to open their minds to the realm of and deepen the scope of the art of photography, to broaden their understanding of it, and enhance and enrich how they can improve their approach to the interpretation of their environment and modify their approach to capture the mood and the story by getting the shot. Nothing more. On the contrary, The Nikon vs Canon example that you reference is one of the most boring, useless, and irrelevant “debates” in photography that benefits two parties, and two parties alone: the bank accounts of the CEO and shareholders of Nikon and Canon corporations, which have no interest whatsoever in whether or not we develop into good photographers – only that we continue to believe that purchasing their products will make us so. The aspiring photographer’s seemingly inexplicable internal strife on camera, gear, lenses, sharpness, resolution, etc is the single most impediment to improving one’s photographic potential, and such strife should be reserved for how to improve and hone your vision of the world in a way that captivates both your and the viewer’s imagination.

      Mr. Fields’ images here are stunning. They have mood. They have affect and emotion. They have power. And they convey a message and a story. It does not matter what gear Mr. Fields used to capture these images. What matters is that he had the vision, the courage, and the forethought to do it. That is what art and photography are about, which sadly has become lost on today’s generation of aspiring photographers.

      • October 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm

        Rick,

        thank you very much for such an honest comment. And I have to agree on your remark that we have been focusing on the wrong things for a little too long here on Photography Life. Trust me when I say this – currently, I only have the none-technical articles on my mind, those that I take real pleasure in writing. Unfortunately, some of the articles need to be written, but I will try and make up for the technicalities soon. More than that, we have something special planned for 2014 which will involve a good dose of real photography every week.

        Thank you!

      • 21
        ) Anna
        October 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        Hi Rick,
        Thanks for a thorough response. But I too must (slightly) respectfully disagree. :) I do think that Gary has an agenda, but he did a pretty good job of removing it from this article. But that’s just my opinion and I recognize I’m in the minority here. I do agree with you that this article wasn’t *about* politics, they just kinda seeped around the edges (IMO).
        I’m not sure how it broadens the art of photography or our understanding of it when a photojournalist has to be careful or ask for permission to photograph certain things. Are these things new to us? It has always been my understanding that photojournalism is dangerous and one must be careful. This could be new to people, but my assumption is that it isn’t, and as such, I didn’t see the same value in this article as you did, but again, I think we each saw something different. And maybe my expectation of this article was different from yours. :)
        But the pictures are interesting and do tell stories, but for the most part, we’re left to imagine our own stories for these pictures. I would have loved to know more about the woman in the purple head scarf and what made her smile, or what was that soldier giving to the woman int he purple sweater or what’s the story of the baker or about the man with his hands by his face – is he crying, is he praying, is he laughing, is he just wiping dust from his face. In my humble opinion, if those stories were to accompany the photos, it would have been a really great article. As it is, the writer is just telling us that there are challenges and risks in taking photos in a conflict zone and that the images can be powerful, and oh by the way, here are some photos.

        To respond to another point in your comment, I think you and I potentially have different reason for coming to this site. Though this article was OK, I’m hoping there won’t be more like this specific one (again, I seem to be in the minority on this). Though I agree with you in that I also would welcome other articles, not just hardware reviews (mainly ’cause there are so few Canon reviews :) ).
        Thanks for a great discussion. :)

        • October 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm

          Anna, and that was a failure on my part – Gary sent information to accompany each photo, but I was not able to manage to put it in captions. The man with the hands by his face is crying, because his trees were destroyed. There is definitely a story behind every photo.

          Either way, let’s not take this discussion to the next step – best to enjoy Gary’s photography and the fact that working in conflict zones is hard and dangerous for photographers.

    • October 28, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Hi Anna,

      I didn’t see this article or the images intentionally political at all. Naturally, photojournalism is implicitly political in most cases, and in all cases when a conflict is involved – regardless where the photos were taken. One can, for instance, demand the author to show the “other” side of the conflict. Nevertheless, the author went out of his way to avoid political commentary. Of course, you can argue that the images themselves carry a political statement, but that’s the power of photojournalism, and is unavoidable. Unless you suggest Photographylife avoided photojournalism altogether, which I think would be a great loss.

      Ironically, your own reply is far more political than the article itself, and it goes against the author’s explicit wishes to avoid politics in the discussion. I find this a bit disrespectful as well as disturbing. Disturbing because while you have a choice to read or ignore this post, you would deprive the same choice from other Photographylife readers.

      • 23
        ) Anna
        October 29, 2013 at 12:04 am

        Hi Csaba Molnar,
        I believe you made my point for me when you said “photojournalism is implicitly political” and “images themselves carry a political statement”. I failed yet again to express my message, but you saw where I was aiming. I would never suggest that PhotographyLife avoid photojournalism as a topic, I was simply hoping that hotly debated “political” topics wouldn’t be a frequent thing here because it is easy to get derailed, as we apparently did through my inept attempts to explain myself (and the Middle East conflict is only one of many such topics). Nasim explained how this article happened and that explained a lot and cleared up some of my misconceptions.

        I’m having a hard time understanding what you mean in your last paragraph (that my reply is far more political or that I would deprive others from reading this article). I saw something in the article others don’t see, so maybe you’re seeing in my reply something that I didn’t mean. It is never my intent to deprive people of choices or political discussions. I just think there are so many other forums for political discussions and I would hate to see this forum/site turn political. Many probably believe I’m doing just that, “turning it political” with my comment, and I apologize if that’s the impression I gave.

        Since I can’t find my “voice” today and seem completely incapable of expressing myself, I think I’ll just stop commenting/adding fuel to the fire. :)
        Again, I apologize if I offended anyone. It was not my intention.

        • October 29, 2013 at 4:09 am

          Thank you for your considerate reply. I hope I wasn’t too offensive in my post. It was just strange that when I’ve read the article, I didn’t consider the political situation at all. I looked at some of the amazing pictures and I enjoyed reading about the practical details of working in a conflict zone. I believe the author did a good job in avoiding political commentary, and his photos are not nearly as explicit as you can easily find with a google search.

          I wouldn’t have considered politics at all were it not for your own post. That’s what I meant in my last paragraph. Basically, you draw attention to the political aspect of the photos ignoring the author’s request to avoid it. The author was trying to avoid politics in many ways – choosing images that are not overly explicit or shocking, avoiding political commentary, explicitly asking us to avoid politics. Your post, while denouncing political content on the whole, made the discussion actually focus on politics. That is what I described as an irony.

          I also understand your position. If I had personal experience in that region, I may have reacted in a similar way. Don’t feel too bad about your post. I don’t think your intended to hurt anyone, but I do think you posted a bit hastily without much consideration. This is something I’m also guilty of myself – sometimes I wish I could take what I’ve posted in the heat of a moment ;)

    • 25
      ) Andrew Gluck
      October 29, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Anna I saw and copied the exact same sentence that you did to post before I read your comment, it is very political and one sided. Yes the photographs are from one side but the commentary shows politics in action. The photos are good, but to often politics leak into the art when commentary is added. One could say if they did not lob rockets or have suicide bombers the wall and checkpoints would not be there. Anna I saw nothing wrong with your post as I saw what you saw. If it causes others to get defensive there might be a reason.

      • October 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

        Andrew, no one is getting defensive – they are simply sharing their opinion. :)

  2. October 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Interesting article. As a resident of the area, I think it is extremely important to point out a few things.

    – I think not many people are aware of this – but Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas as pointed out in the article, has nothing to do with the Israeli army. Hamas is a palestinian organization that calls for the destruction of Israeli in its manifest, and has taken over the Gaza strip by force several years ago. There are no israelies or settlers in Gaza. The situation for palestinians in Gaza under Hamas is many times worse than the situation of palestinians in the west bank, who despite the many hardships can still conduct their lives.

    – I liked the point about showing everyday lives that are still possible within this conflict. Things are not black and white. Not everything is conflict and war. For example, Palestinians work in Israeli industrial areas in the west bank and make a very good living. Soldiers and palestinians are not in an ever lasting conflict. I like this clip showing Israeli soldiers dancing with palestinians in a wedding in Hebron. I think it shows the other side of the reality.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9boSJdZ8gFQ#t=21

    – More to the point of this website, the point of cameras in the conflict should be mentioned. Different sides want to use cameras as a means to achieve political gains and a “money shot” that will go all over the world as if one side is constantly an aggressor and the other side is always the victim. I find the following picture to be so telling and powerful. look at how the soldiers stands with his arms behind his back not responding to this clear provocation in front of the cameras. He knows that the whole point of this provocation is to show the Israeli army in a negative light and therefore prefers to stand still.

    http://ilyameyer.com/english/files/2012/07/Palestinian-provocation.jpg

    Some more images of the same nature:

    http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/69043000/jpg/_69043307_84456c98-66a1-41e2-81b6-e16d9dffae55.jpg

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/8/16/1376660973958/df03a5e1-ee97-443c-a3fc-313fba59b49e-620×414.jpeg

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/storage/blog-post-images/PALESTINE%2031-03-12%20PALESTINE%20CHILD%20ISRAEL%20SOLDIERS.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1333222204894

    – Lastly, we should never forget that as in any conflict, there are two sides. I would like to also see images of the Israelis who face terror and bomb shells on a daily basis (one of those bombs fell on my house a few years ago), not to mention the violation of human rights by the Hammas against his own people in the 100% Hammas-controlled Gaza strip.

    http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.479385.1364417159!/image/1649988570.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_640/1649988570.jpg

    http://assets2.static.vosizneias.com/uploads/news_photos/thumbnails/700_ebwbgu6lyteop0p2jwymovguyoql16nl.jpg

    http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_02/BombShopDM_468x313.jpg

    http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_02/BombedSchoolDM_468x417.jpg

    • October 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks for a balanced and calm reply Oded, and thanks for sharing some pictures that illustrate the other side.

    • 14
      ) Jorge Balarin
      October 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      In every conflict there are two sides, but this photo reportage is showing what is to live in an occupied territoy, that’s not the situation of Israel.

      • October 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm

        That’s taking the conversation to the political side, since ofcourse many Israelis would say that this land is not occupied, so I prefer to respect the request of this website and not continue this debate here.

    • 28
      ) Andrew Gluck
      October 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Those photos of the Israeli IDF officers show remarkable restraint, as a 30 year retired law enforcement officer I know that the people would have never been allowed to get in our face that way without us taking some sort of action.

  3. 11
    ) Jorge Balarin
    October 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I like very much this post. The photos are excellent and they reflect a reality. What the photos are transmitting is the atmosphere reigning in an occupied territory. This territory could be any one, but in the case of this reportage it is Palestina. If somebody wants to give other examples with high quality pics, they are free to do it.

  4. 13
    ) Ryder
    October 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Outstanding job! The motive to post the article is genuine in my opinion. “These images for Photography Life emphasize such opportunities in seeking to reveal the dignity of human subjects in the face of adversity.” I could not agree more. Unfortunately, knowing the demographic of PL and the sensitivity of the subject matter; one cannot be alarmed if/when the subject gets political.

    The images speak, they educate, and they provoke thought on a geopolitical subject. Well done.

  5. 16
    ) Tom Rhyne
    October 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for reposting the article after your review. This is a valuable study in the problems faced by photographers working in stressed environments, and it contains useful information for any photographer who might be considering such an undertaking.

  6. October 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Outstanding guest article. Amazing photography. Simply stunning. Thank you for sharing. Good photography means partisanship and thereby will always be political. Keep on with your work. You are doing great stuff.

  7. 18
    ) Kathleen Moore
    October 28, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you so much for the photo essay showing some of the human suffering that goes on behind that huge wall. It takes a brave sole to go to these “conflict areas” with their camera and bring back photos to those of us not able to go and see for ourselves. Being a journalist or photo journalist is a very risky job. According to Press Emblem Campaign the number of journalists killed in 2012 stands at 139. 44 were killed in the Middle East, 35 – in Latin America, 31 – in Asia, 28 – in Africa and 1 – in Europe. The recent conflict in Syria has become the bloodiest for journalists since the beginning of the century. Perhaps, one of the best known war casualties was Sunday Times War Correspondent Marie Colvin, who was killed in Homs. Colvin’s colleague and photojournalist Paul Conroy was wounded, but managed to escape. So, I also want to give thanks to those who risk their lives to document what is happening in the conflict areas.

  8. 26
    ) André
    October 29, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Such an amazing photographic work. Congratulations to Gary Fields (and to Photography Life’s team for keeping up the good work).

  9. 29
    ) Jorge Balarin
    October 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Here there is another example of an extraordinary prize winning reportage photo:
    http://www.worldpressphoto.org/content/swedish-photographer-paul-hansen-wins-premier-photo-contest-award

    • October 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      A very powerful photo indeed. I saw that earlier this year and remember it winning a prize…

  10. 34
    ) I Love Israel
    October 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    As an Israeli, I am deeply insulted! why you not choose to give some guest post from Afghanistan or Iraq when American Soldier are deep deep inside this countries, do you know why Israel make so high walls? It’s because the sniffers try to kill our kids, the tunnels in the pictures are smuggling rockets and other arms to kill our Citizens, in one picture you showing a young man (maybe a boy) holding a gun, if it was in Afghanistan did you feel the same on this boy? Or now he is not a boy he is el-Qaida and you can kill him? This guest post is just a terrorist propaganda that this people do to Israel for many years, at list this guy make money selling his books, what is photographylife excuse? You want to make a some balance? ask some el-Qaida photographer to show their side and let’s see what people think on your website!

    • October 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      This is exactly the type of commentary I was trying to avoid. This article is about photographing in conflict zones and the relevant dangers – that’s why we posted it in first place. If it carried any terrorist propaganda, we would have never allowed to post it here, as we clearly outlined in the bottom of the article. Please see some of the comments above – hopefully it will answer a number of your concerns. Oded Shopen, currently living in Israel posted a balanced and calm response and provided some pictures that show the terror of living on the other side of the fence. Please read his post and relevant responses before accusing us of posting terrorist propaganda…

  11. 37
    ) Raphi
    November 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    This is my first comment on Photography Life, though I have been following this terrific blog for quite some time. As a Canadian Jew living in Israel, I have found out firsthand how difficult it can be to evaluate both sides of this conflict without allowing one’s feeling to interfere. It is convincing to see pictures of oppressed people; throw the word ‘Israel’ into the article’s first few paragraphs; and allow the reader to naturally assume that Israel is the oppressor for the remainder of the article. Oded accurately pointed out that in Gaza, where life is decidedly more difficult for Palestinians than the West Bank, Israel has virtually no control over any aspects in the day-to-day life of its inhabitants. Indeed, Palestinians living in Israel proper have the same rights as any Israeli citizen; benefit from the same healthcare and public networks as Israelis; and both sides live in a generally peaceful co-existence. The article fails to point out the necessity for having this separating wall between Israeli civilians and terrorists, choosing instead to portray Israel as having herded thousands of innocents into a confined space, with little or no reason-,”When the state of Israel constructed a Wall ostensibly to protect its citizens from Palestinian attacks…”, when, in fact, the tide of terror attacks stemming from exactly those regions has been drastically reduced with its construction. I have a photo somewhere on my computer which I couldn’t locate, of a picture I took in Hebron awhile back. It’s a picture of a playground, dedicated in the memory of a young girl who was killed by sniper fire at a young age. Snipers, by definiiton, are experts in picking their targets. Above this playground is an army pillbox, where soldiers watch vigilantly over the children playing in park, always alert for a possible re-occurrence. When this scene presented itself to me, the juxtaposition of an army outpost and childrens playground sent me reeling. Yes, there are both sides to this story, as there always is, but to portray Israel as the cause and continued aggressor in this conflict is simply wrong. I am not trying to make a political statement or offend anyone’s sensitivities; I simply had to post.

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