Gaza’s only female photojournalist, Eman Mohammed, shows the devastation of war on private lives

iWar is about the long-term aftermath of war survivors and victims. It’s a series of portraits and a gentle, symbolic way to show that war has happened, and it’s still happening. History has not changed, sadly. It’s a way of saying to the audience, “Even if you’ve moved on, that doesn’t mean the victims did.” Or they did, but they feel the pain at the very same time.

This is the art of leadership — created with courage and compassion! She writes about her iWar project in a way that utterly moves me. She photographs people surviving, rebuilding, moving on. “I go to the family, I spend three, four days getting to know them. Sometimes it’s less — it depends. And I share stories with them, until they feel comfortable showing me their sadness. And I ask them, “Show me your sadness, as though I don’t exist. Like I’m not even here.” I get them deep in the details, and then I get the shot. It’s energy consuming and emotionally draining, but it’s very powerful.” And very inspiring!

TED Blog

Blog_FF-EmanMohammed

At the age of 19, Eman Mohammed became the only female photojournalist based in Gaza, breaking longstanding cultural taboos around the role of women in society. Three weeks into her career, the Gaza War began. Now 26, Mohammed continues to document harrowing and intimate stories of war and its aftermath in Gaza and beyond. Here, Mohammed tells the TED Blog her extraordinary story of battling professional bias and sexual harassment from male colleagues — while simultaneously documenting the battle raging around her.

How did you end up on the battlefield as a photographer? What was your inspiration?

My inspiration is my mother. My father’s Jordanian with Palestinian roots, and my mother is a Palestinian — Gazan. When they separated when I was 3, my mom went back to Gaza and raised me there. In those years, I saw how the community mistreated her because she was divorced and raising her kids alone, an unknown thing. In…

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