2004. Afghanistan. Pashtun Tribal Zone. Portrait of an Afghan girl.

I felt incredibly privileged to be at the exhibition for the Hamdan International Photography Award in September. Held at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, it was a glittering occasion – as you might expect, because  HIPA is the richest competition in photography.

There were four categories in 2012/2013 competition: The Beauty of Light, Black and White, Emirates, and General which allowed entrants to show off their skills, unrestricted by a theme. Photographers from all over the world responded to the brief with fabulous, breathtaking images – I’m so pleased I was able to see them.

Afghanistan. Nuristan Province. 1985. Afghan children imitate the photographer by holding their hands in circles in front of their eyes.

 

However, it was the guest speaker, the internationally acclaimed photographer, REZA, who truly moved and inspired me. His images of war torn countries, disasters, and humanity at its best, have graced the pages of the world’s most revered publications, including National Geographic, Time Magazine, Stern, Newsweek, El Pais, Paris-Match.

Afghanistan. Paktika Province. 2004. Khalil Rahman poses next to his daughter, Nasrine on the Pakistani border next to the ” Angour Ada ” passage.

 

This French-Iranian photographer has travelled the world producing award-winning images that bring important and previously untold stories to the public’s attention.

Italy. Sicily. Librino. 2011.
Training program in visual media for about a hundred adolescents in one of the most deprived
suburbs of Sicily. This project was conducted by photographer Reza, with the support of Antonio Presti and Fiumara d’Arte Foundation.

But more than simply capturing images of suffering, REZA puts his experiences to the best possible use. Over the last four decades, he has founded photographic training programmes around the world, from refugee camps in war-ravaged countries to underprivileged European suburbs.

Italy. Sicily. Librino. 2011.
Training program in visual media for about a hundred adolescents in one of the most deprived
suburbs of Sicily. This project was conducted by photographer Reza, with the support of Antonio Presti and Fiumara d’Arte Foundation.

 

In 2001 he set up Ainaworld, a foundation dedicated to children’s education and to training women in communications and media. One of the things that struck me about him is his grace and humility. To gain the trust of the people he photographs, he spends time with them and the respect he has for them shines  through in his images.  He spoke of  his continuing work with children and women and how he empowers them through photography.

If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, or for more information, please email valentine.sabot@webistan.com who is based at the agency and deals with REZA’s work.

Crossroads Shantytown, Cape Town, South Africa. 1985.
Apartheid. The word still resonates like an insult in my ear. Apartheid in South Africa was a value, the foundation of a white society that was convinced of its superiority, not only over anybody that was not white, but also over the rest of the world, which had passed laws to abolish racial discrimination. In those times, Mandela, the leading figure of the resistance against apartheid, was still behind bars. Bloody confrontations between blacks and white police officers were happening daily. There was no single day without riots breaking out in shantytowns. Everything in the streets emanated from injustice. This proud little man made me think of Mandela and his fight for the recognition of his people in an apartheid-ridden country.

Afghanistan. Kabul Province. Botkhak. April 1983. Shadows of Afghan Mujahideen, comrades of Commander Massoud, on the morning of an offensive against the Soviets on Kabul during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989).

 

Pakistan. 2004. Children making imitations of guns in a factory in the Pashtun tribal zone. It’s 130 Km nord-east from Peshawar.

All images copyright REZA 2013 and many thanks to REZA and his team for me to be able to use the images in this post.

Annie Armitage – Photographic Artist

Annie Armitage is a photographer who specialises in producing timeless images.  As one of the top contemporary, family lifestyle photographers in the UK she produces images of pregnancy, newborn, babies of all sizes, families, teenagers (seniors), dogs and also has a commercial side to her business which is predominantly  headshots as well as formal but approachable portraits for annual reports or PR purposes and lifestyle images for SME’s portfolios and website.
 
Annie is based in Kingston upon Thames but is available for commission throughout the UK and Ireland and Internationally. Annie’s main working areas within London and Surrey are:- Kingston, Surbiton, ThamesDitton, NewMalden, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Clapham, Battersea, Putney, Mayfair, Sloane Square, Holland Park Richmond, Barnes, Fulham, Sheen, Chelsea, Kensington, Hampton,  Twickenham, Teddington, StMargarets and throughout Surrey including Guildford, Godalming, Woking, Cobham, Weybridge, Esher, Claygate, Oxshott and Ottershaw
 
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To contact Annie about your requirements – please go to the Contact form on her website or alternatively email her at  annie@anniearmitage.com or call her on 07711 391919
 
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