10 minutes with Moises Saman

Interviews with Photographers January 14, 2013 8:29 am
When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
 It was in the late 90′s, while studying Sociology in college. Sociology first opened my eyes to the world around me, and during that time i became fascinated by the coverage of the war in the Balkans. Early on I was drawn to the adventurous nature of bearing witness to far-away conflicts, and photography provided an excuse of sorts for being there. It was not until several years later that I started exploring photography as a means of self-expression.

 

Cairo, Egypt. July 2011.Egyptians on a street near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. - Moises Saman

Cairo, Egypt. July 2011.
Egyptians on a street near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo. – Moises Saman

LYBIA. Outskirts of Zawiyah. March 9, 2011. A Qaddafi supporter holds a portrait of the Libyan leader as fireworks go up in the background on a soccer field in a suburb of Zawiyah where government minders took a group of foreign journalists to attend a staged celebration. - Moises Saman

LYBIA. Outskirts of Zawiyah. March 9, 2011. A Qaddafi supporter holds a portrait of the Libyan leader as fireworks go up in the background on a soccer field in a suburb of Zawiyah where government minders took a group of foreign journalists to attend a staged celebration. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Cairo, Egipto. Noviembre, 2011. Un manifestante durante batallas campales contra la policia egipcia cerca de la Plaza Tahrir. - Moises Saman

Cairo, Egipto. Noviembre, 2011.
Un manifestante durante batallas campales contra la policia egipcia cerca de la Plaza Tahrir. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

 

You have traveled throughout the world on assignment. Is there any one trip in the years that you have been documenting places, people and events that really stands out to you?
 Probably my first trip to Afghanistan in 2001. At the time I was not prepared to experience such a raw, beautiful and violent place. It was truly like stepping into a kind of Lord of the Rings setting for the biggest news story of my generation.

 

Moises Saman

AFGHANISTAN. Kandahar. March 2005. A boy covers his eyes during a sandstorm in the southern city of Kandahar. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

AFGHANISTAN. Kunar Province. March 2010. Afghan soldiers carry a wounded comrade into an American medevac helicopter after a Taliban ambush near the village of Tsunek, Kunar Province. - AFGHANISTAN. Kunar Province. March 2010. Afghan soldiers carry a wounded comrade into an American medevac helicopter after a Taliban ambush near the village of Tsunek, Kunar Province. - Moises Saman

AFGHANISTAN. Kunar Province. March 2010. Afghan soldiers carry a wounded comrade into an American medevac helicopter after a Taliban ambush near the village of Tsunek, Kunar Province. – AFGHANISTAN. Kunar Province. March 2010. Afghan soldiers carry a wounded comrade into an American medevac helicopter after a Taliban ambush near the village of Tsunek, Kunar Province. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

AFGHANISTAN. Marja, Helmand Province. March 2010. Marja's new district chief Hagi ZAHIR (far left top) meets with local elders in Marja's district center.  - Moises Saman

AFGHANISTAN. Marja, Helmand Province. March 2010. Marja’s new district chief Hagi ZAHIR (far left top) meets with local elders in Marja’s district center.
- Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

HAITI. Port-au-Prince. January 18, 2010. A couple walks hand in hand through a devastated area in downtown Port-au-Prince, one of the hardest hit areas by the January 12th earthquake. - Moises Saman

HAITI. Port-au-Prince. January 18, 2010. A couple walks hand in hand through a devastated area in downtown Port-au-Prince, one of the hardest hit areas by the January 12th earthquake. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

 

With the demand for more and more images, and quicker turnaround, has your relationship to your work changed at all since the transition to digital photography?
I come from the first digital generation of photographers, and my background as a newspaper photographer got me used to the fast paced news cycles, but indeed the cycles keep getting faster and faster. As I grow older as a person and as a photographer I find myself resisting the idea of producing random images to just feed the machine, I am more interested in cultivating a body of work overtime on a region, or a single issue that I care about.

 

AFGHANISTAN. Golbahar. November 2001. Northern Alliance reinforcements arrive in the village of Golbahar north of Kabul to prepare for the final push to Kabul to retake the Afghan capital from the Taliban. - Moises Saman

AFGHANISTAN. Golbahar. November 2001. Northern Alliance reinforcements arrive in the village of Golbahar north of Kabul to prepare for the final push to Kabul to retake the Afghan capital from the Taliban. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

LIBYA. Tawerga. September 19, 2011.  Debris from a Libyan Army tank destroyed by NATO bombing is scattered in the town of Tawerga, a village that used to be a Qaddafi loyalist stronghold and the staging area for attacks on nearby Misrata during the siege of that city. Tawerga is now a virtual ghost town as residents fearing reprisal fled during the rebel advance from Misrata. - Moises Saman

LIBYA. Tawerga. September 19, 2011. Debris from a Libyan Army tank destroyed by NATO bombing is scattered in the town of Tawerga, a village that used to be a Qaddafi loyalist stronghold and the staging area for attacks on nearby Misrata during the siege of that city. Tawerga is now a virtual ghost town as residents fearing reprisal fled during the rebel advance from Misrata. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

TURKEY. March 2, 2012. Along the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay Province. Under the cover of night a network of Syrian smugglers transport a family fleeing the violence inside Syria on a rowboat across the Orentes River, which marks a stretch of the border between northern Syria and southern Turkey. Since the start of the Syrian conflict in March of 2011 over 11,000 Syrian refugees have fled the country and are now living in refugee camps along the Turkish border. - Moises Saman

TURKEY. March 2, 2012. Along the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay Province. Under the cover of night a network of Syrian smugglers transport a family fleeing the violence inside Syria on a rowboat across the Orentes River, which marks a stretch of the border between northern Syria and southern Turkey. Since the start of the Syrian conflict in March of 2011 over 11,000 Syrian refugees have fled the country and are now living in refugee camps along the Turkish border. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

 
If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?
Read more, have a better understanding of the world around you, know when to slow down and take care of yourself, be more open-minded.

 

Cairo, Egypt. January 2012.A nurse and her patient inside a Muslim Brotherhood operated hospital in the Shobra district of Cairo. - Moises Saman

Cairo, Egypt. January 2012.
A nurse and her patient inside a Muslim Brotherhood operated hospital in the Shobra district of Cairo. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Tripoli, Libya. June 2011.Men inside a damaged house hit by a NATO airstrike in Tripoli, Libya. - Moises Saman

Tripoli, Libya. June 2011.
Men inside a damaged house hit by a NATO airstrike in Tripoli, Libya. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Cairo, Egypt. May 2012.The scene of clashes in the Abbaseya district if Cairo between supporters of the military and protestors demanding a return to civilian rule in Egypt. - Moises Saman

Cairo, Egypt. May 2012.
The scene of clashes in the Abbaseya district if Cairo between supporters of the military and protestors demanding a return to civilian rule in Egypt. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Cairo, Egypt. November 22, 2011.A protestor with a wound to the head is evacuated on a motorcycle from the front lines during clashes near Tahrir Square. - Moises Saman

Cairo, Egypt. November 22, 2011.
A protestor with a wound to the head is evacuated on a motorcycle from the front lines during clashes near Tahrir Square. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Tripoli, LIbya. August 2011.A Libyan tank destroyed in a NATO airstrike on the outskirts of Tripoli. - Moises Saman

Tripoli, LIbya. August 2011.
A Libyan tank destroyed in a NATO airstrike on the outskirts of Tripoli. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Tripoli, LIbya. August 2011.A Libyan tank destroyed in a NATO airstrike on the outskirts of Tripoli. - Moises Saman

Tripoli, LIbya. August 2011.
A Libyan tank destroyed in a NATO airstrike on the outskirts of Tripoli. – Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

Any words of wisdom for the up and comers?
Read more, have a better understanding of the world around you, know when to slow down and take care of yourself, be more open-minded.

 

(Moises is an Associate Member of Magnum Photos. See more of his work, here)

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