Art And Culture

Iranian Photographer Wins French Award

Iranian Photographer Wins French Award Iranian Photographer Wins French Award

Iranian photographer Majid Saeedi is one of the winners of the International Photoreporter Festival in France along with nine others.

Saeedi’s project ‘Land of Conflict’ displaying images of Afghan people whose lives have been affected by several decades of war, won the €10,000 ($11,350) prize of the festival, ISNA reported.

This year’s edition saw entries from 300 photographers from 46 countries. After evaluating the submissions, the jury selected the top 10 winners from Iran, Italy, Sweden, New Zeeland, Scotland, Spain, Russia, South Africa and France (two photographers).

Aimed at showing the world in its diversity, the contest has no specific theme and photojournalists had the “highest liberty” in the choice of their proposals.

Saeedi, who has photographed the Middle East with a focus on humanitarian aspects for the past two decades, is currently covering Afghanistan for Getty Images. The country has been at war for most of the last four decades and invasion, occupation, insurgency and civil war has impacted it adversely.

“I have lived and worked as a photojournalist in Afghanistan during the last decade but I did not photograph the war.  Instead, I interacted with ordinary people capturing their daily life. We have seen countless images of Afghanistan, particularly pictures of soldiers and aid workers throughout the country, but these do not portray the real Afghanistan. The real Afghanistan may be an image of a humble child looking at my lens without a smile or images of men, women and children who have lost their arms and legs due to land mines,” Saeedi says.

He believes that his photos capture the resilience of people struggling to make meaningful lives amidst the insecurity and endless violence that afflicts their country.

“I want to capture what it takes to live and rebuild their destroyed lives. What it takes to restore a society and address the lingering wounds of war while struggling to create new avenues for peace,” he says.

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Born and raised in Tehran, Saeedi, 41, started photography at the age of 16. At 18, he went to the Iran-Iraq war fronts (1980-1988) to take photos of the war.

He has headed the photography department of various news agencies in Iran since 1998. His work has been published in the international press such as Times, Spiegel, Life, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Time Magazine and various Middle Eastern publications and online agencies.

Saeedi was the photographer of Time Magazine in Afghanistan in 2001 and has collaborated with Getty Images in the Middle East since 2004.

He has won numerous prominent photography awards from around the world including FotoEvidence Book Award and Lucas Dolega Award in 2014 and UNICEF Photography Prize in 2010. For seven times he was selected as the best photographer of the year in Iran.