Interview with Ahmad Talat Hasan, a 22-year old freelance photographer from Nablus.
by Theodosia Gkournelou
Being a journalist or a photo reporter is stressful. Sometimes it is also dangerous. When you are a journalist who constantly reports from a conflict zone, then you are always in danger. So the question is, why do you choose to do this kind of job? Ahmad Talat Hasan is a 22-year old freelance photographer from Nablus. He is completing his studies on journalism and media at the Modern University College in Ramallah and he is working in journalism and photography since 2011. We asked him to describe what it is like to be a young photo reporter in the Palestinian territories.
Q: What are the main topics you cover?
A: I am mostly reporting on demonstrations, clashes. In a lesser degree, I am photographing marches and aspects of life in general.
Q: Which are the areas you cover?
A: I am reporting from Nablus and other regions of West Bank.
Q: Why did you choose to be a photographer?
A: I chose photography, especially photojournalism to document the crimes of the Israeli occupation.
Q: Was that the only reason why you chose this professional? Do you also like be a photojournalist?
A: Yes, that was the main reason, even if it is highly dangerous. I wouldn’t mind though being a news reporter in the future but again the reason for that would be to show to the world what is really happening in my country.
Q: What are the most difficult parts of your job?
A: The hardest part, especially when you are covering the clashes, is being injured and even die due to accidently or intentionally being targeted from the Israeli soldiers. I have already been shot for no reason in my leg from a sniper. I was standing far away from demonstrators and soldiers but even so…
Q: Were you there as photographer covering the clashes?
A: Of course I was there as a photographer. Every Friday we used to cover the clashes and the demonstrations in the region. And that day, I was shot by an Israeli soldier all of a sudden.
Q: So how would you describe working in an environment such as Palestine?
A: It is difficult, risky and dangerous. One endangers his life when capturing photos at demonstrations and clashes. There is always the fear of being deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers, not to mention the fear of causing calamity to your family. However, I never hesitate to cover the confrontations.
Q: You described the harsh moments of your profession. Would you like to tell us the ones you most like?
A: The best part about my job is to showcase what’s really happening in my country to the rest of the world. You know, the truth is often distorted by the occupation.
Q: Which one is your most powerful photo and why?
A: The most powerful is an image of an Israeli soldier shooting at a child in the village of Kafr Qaddum. The girl escaped after throwing some stones and the soldier couldn’t manage to shoot her, but many participants were shot in that day by the Israeli soldiers.
Q: Is your profit (as a photographer) enough to sustain yourself?
A: Actually, being a local photo reporter in Palestine does not even secure transportation or phone calls. Most agencies underrate and don’t pay us well.
Q: Are you thinking yourself doing something different in the future?
A: In the future, I would like to travel to countries suffering from crises and wars. I want to document their suffering and the way they live their life.
Q: What would you say to someone who want to follow the same profession as you? Would you encourage him/her?
A: I would tell that person that photojournalism, especially in Palestine, is very dangerous. I have to add though, that documenting the crimes of the occupation and showing them to the world is of great need. There must be people to do that.
*The views mentioned in this interview represent interviewee’s opinions.
About the author: Theodosia Gkournelou is Menac’s blog coordinator. She is a Greek journalist based in Frankfurt. Theodosia holds a MA in Journalism, specialised in reporting on conflict, from the Complutense University of Madrid. She has worked as Editor-in Chief for Greek news websites, former employers are the National Greek News Agency and the Spanish magazine “El Periódico de la Publicidad”. Currently she works as a freelance journalist.