in Hostile Environments By Stephanie
E. McGehee, living in Kuwait
Bosnia Text & Photographs By Sara Terry
Joan Almond: The Past in the Present by Susan Scafati
Wars, riots, terrorist attacks, government overthrows, bombings, car accidents, train wrecks, floods, earthquakes, etc all a part or our everyday life as a photojournalist. With increased tensions all over the world, insurance companies are insisting that members of the media take awareness courses that may save their, or someone near them, life. Having just returned from an extensive course provided to me, by Reuters News Agency, of which I have been their photographer in Kuwait for 12 years.
retained the top risk management company called Centurion of which conducts
a week long intense training at a beautiful 65 acre transformed English
Manor. An Ideal location for getting blown up in a simulated mine field
and taken hostage by hostile forces!!
First aid, Bio-chemical warfare, and hostile environment training is all
for the sake of our personal awareness. We were subject to situations
that felt so realistic it was hard to differentiate if it was real or
want to be a photo-journalist?
I should say, from the beginning, that I never flew into Sarajevo on a military cargo plane, listening anxiously for the sound of artillery fire. I never saw anyone killed in the infamous Sniper Alley that was a death trap during the nearly three years of the siege of Sarajevo by Serb forces. I never had a gun pointed in my face, I never feared for my life, never interviewed a man who would die the next day, a woman who had been gang-raped, a parent who had just buried a child, or a family which had fled the blood-soaked soil of a village burned to the ground in the name of "ethnic cleansing."
No, for me, the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Hercegovina was something that happened far off, in a place I'd never been. It was something I struggled to understand, or ignored when the news was too depressing, from my home in Boston, where I wrote of other things. I did not come to Bosnia until the fall of 2000 - drawn at last by a newspaper article that said that just as Bosnians were starting to return to homes they had fled during the war, the international community was becoming "fatiguedî with the Balkans tragedy and was starting to move its aid and attention elsewhere. I was outraged by such international shortsightedness, by the fact that the West was preparing to turn its back on Bosnia, just as it had during a war that was marked by the worst genocide in Europe since the end of World War II.
My experience of Bosnia, then, has been marked not by war, but by the echoes of war, by the scars it has left behind. My work and travels have been marked by the struggle of rebirth, not the horror of destruction. I have spent long hours with many widows of Srebrenica - the Muslim women who lost some 8,000 men and boys in a 1995 massacre by Serb forces. I have been with them as they return to visit homes they fled in terror, I have been with them when they have laughed, cried and prayed for their dead. I spent a rainy afternoon with a man as he exhumed a shallow grave containing his father, killed eight years earlier by Serb neighbors. I have stood on the freshly laid concrete floors of homes being rebuilt by returning refugees, determined to reclaim their land their lives. I was in the crush of a group of young people, crowded in the square outside the National Theatre in Sarajevo, cheering wildly as they greeted Danis Tanovic, fresh from his Oscar victory for his film about the war, "No Man's Land" - a victory he celebrated in his homeland on April 9, 2002, just one day short of the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the 1,325-day siege of Sarajevo.
have spent days in a warehouse lined with body bags, filled with the
remains of recently-exhumed victims of the Serbs' 1992 ethnic cleansing
campaign - while family members, mostly women, walked the aisles of
skeletons, sobbing quietly, looking for loved ones; while one woman
picked up skull after skull with her bare hands, searching for signs
of a son. I have spent afternoons in Sarajevo with the 3K wheelchair
basketball team, made up of young men who were wounded by snipers
as civilians or while serving on the frontline as soldiers. I have
watched them sweat and spin on a dime and flirt with girls when practice
is over and I have come away determined that the world's final image
of them be their strength and grace - and not the moment when they
lay sprawled on a city sidewalk, another tragic victim of war, another
image of despair. I want to tell their story of their aftermath.
I want to tell it all.
On November 30, a selection of photos from her exhumation and identification section of the project was awarded the Grand Prix Jean-Louis Calderon at the 17th annual SCOOP and NEWS festival in Angers, France, the festival's highest honor.
"Aftermath: Bosnia's Long Road to Peace,"
WIPI News Article #3
Almond: The Past in the Present
Almond's photographic eye has gazed territories that many western people
will never see. Morocco, Algeria, the walled city of Jerusalem, Egypt
and India are among her muses of the past two decades. Her images
together read more like a diary, filled with visions of personal encounters
and private lives. Through her patient pursuit of natural moments, an
intimacy unveils, blurring the borders between outsider and native.
Almond is a Professional Photographer member of Women In Photography
International, Her work is featured this month in a solo show