Reza Captures Paradoxically Beautiful Images from World's Most Troubled Regions
WASHINGTON (2008)-Award-winning photojournalist and
humanitarian Reza has devoted his life to bearing witness through his camera to
the struggles and hopes of oppressed people around the world. In
REZA WAR + PEACE (National Geographic Focal Point; ISBN
978-1-4262-0326-8; Nov. 18, 2008; $75), a 30-year retrospective of his work,
this remarkable photographer chronicles his travels to places of conflict
through exquisite images that pair turmoil with hope, joy with despair.
The book, with an introduction by Reza's friend,
best-selling author Sebastian Junger, follows Reza's courageous career to the
frontlines of war and areas of unrest as a photojournalist for such publications
as National Geographic, Newsweek and Time.
Reza's journey has taken him from his native Iran,
where he was jailed and tortured because of his photography, to dozens of
countries gripped by turmoil - from Kurdistan to Egypt, Lebanon to Turkey, China
to Israel, Somalia to South Africa. Through his lens, which captures not just
conflict, but friendship, loyalty, family life and love, he takes us to such
regions as northern Pakistan, where cultural shock and mutual incomprehension
are deepening the gap between the American military and people in the tribal
zones; Libya, a country making strides in economic and social well-being, but
not in basic freedoms; Saudi Arabia, ruled by oil-rich princes whose opulent
lives are in stark contrast to those of the "guest workers" who serve them; and
Afghanistan, whose land and people have deeply touched Reza, helping him find
his way in the labyrinth of his own nomadic life.
scenes of demonstrations against the Shah of Iran to the tireless work of Afghan
Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, from portraits of leaders such as
Yassar Arafat, Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi to images of ordinary, unsung
heroes facing unspeakable
hardships with dignity and courage, Reza uses the universal
language of photography to move people to denounce injustice and celebrate the
resilience of the human spirit.
Behind every image lies a gripping story, and Reza
tells these tales in his own words, focusing attention on the costs of war and
the universal human condition. His message is not despairing, but ultimately
In his introduction, Sebastian Junger offers
intimate insight into his experiences working with Reza in the field. "Reza is a
great photographer because he sees the common humanity in people, and he sees
that humanity in people because he has studied them so hard through his camera
lens. ... When Reza looks at a young Afghan - or a Rwandan or an Egyptian or a
Palestinian - he doesn't just see the product of a ruined world; he sees the
potential citizen of a better one, as well."
"My camera is always looking for the truth that
often hides in the shadows," Reza writes. "Being patient, staying right in the
thick of wars, celebrations, tears, screams, the core events of life, and
becoming nothing but a visual resonance chamber - that is my role." By acting as
a witness, Reza is contributing "to building a world where the word 'war' will
belong in the past. I believe that, one day, humanity will remember these
conflicts as a form of behavior practiced by its primitive ancestors. Then,
peace will have triumphed."
Describing himself as "a pilgrim seeking a world in
which the best of humanity blossoms and flourishes," Reza is committed also to
taking action. In 2001 he founded Aïna, the Afghan Media and Cultural Center, an
international nonprofit organization devoted to developing a free press in
Afghanistan. It helps ensure that journalists, intellectuals and artists can
speak freely, provides training in media and communications for women and offers
educational programs for children.
REZA WAR + PEACE
of National Geographic Book's new Focal Point imprint, which draws on National
Geographic's legendary photographic archive of more than 10 million images and
the work of distinguished photographers around the world. The imprint will
present the finest in documentary photography past and present, and monographs
will celebrate individual photographers' unique style, vision and skill.
Reza is a National Geographic Fellow and renowned photojournalist who has
captured the world in photographs for many leading publications and in more than
15 books. In 2005 he was honored with the Chevalier de
l'Ordre du Mérite, the French award for distinguished services in a public or
private capacity. In 2006 he received the University of Missouri-Columbia School
of Journalism Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism "in
recognition of his lifelong contributions, through brilliant photojournalism, to
justice and dignity for the world's citizens."
... Payvand News - 11/30/08 ... --