Graduation for Tim Page photojournalists
KABUL - Six Afghan photographers graduated today from a three-month Master Class conducted by world-renowned photojournalist Tim Page.
Under the auspices of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN’s elections support project, UNDP/ELECT, the six talented students covered the elections in August and Peace Day in September, among other assigned coverage to hone their photo-journalism skills.
“I travelled the journey of many years in just three months,” gushed Barat Ali Batoor about the many things he learned under Mr Page who held Photography Master Classes in Vietnam before he was hired by UNAMA this year to chronicle present-day Afghanistan.
Batoor said the veteran photographer of seven wars taught him, among other techniques, to “build vision” first and foremost, and then to “talk with our heart” in capturing scenes.
“I learned a lot from him,” echoed Najeeb Farzad, standing beside his enlarged photo of a female presidential candidate whose election poster was torn across the face, and her mouth and chin sketched over with a moustache and goatee by vandals.
“I feel really happy – I feel that I am a professional photographer now,” added Najeeb who was seconded by Ahmad Massoud, a contributor to the international news agency Associated Press. “I am feeling now that I am a professional photographer. Before I was feeling a little professional but not professional.”
Editing, angling, cropping, lighting… These Massoud learned from the poetic Mr Page who himself gushed during the graduation ceremony cum photo exhibition in UNAMA’s grounds in Kabul about his students’ quickly-acquired shooting expertise. “It is embarrassing – they got pictures I wish I had shot!”
“This is such a beautiful country that I have become addicted…” added Mr Page who was appointed a UNAMA Photographic Peace Ambassador.
Taken up during the Master Class whose “primary focus and objective is to help strengthen personal vision, story telling and authorship” were self-portraiture, digital photography, photo editing, laws and ethics faced by working journalists, visual storytelling, photo essays, and a retro to black-and-white photography.
The photography and inspiring techniques of the Master Photographer – who advised them to open up the minds and hearts of their fellow Afghans with their pictures – are now in the mind and heart of Jawad Jalali, a former UNAMA photographer who also attended Tim Page’s master class.
“I can feel a big change in myself – I was not happy with my work before, to be honest. But Tim justified our work. He told me, ‘You’re a good photographer!’ And now, I know I can make better pictures!”
UNAMA photographer Fardin Waezi also acknowledged the techniques he learned from Page, especially taking pictures manually and encouraging him not to use a flashgun.
Two Afghan women also joined Page’s class – Mariam Alimi who took photos of Afghan women and Farzana Zeba Kalam whose picture of a dancing Afghan policeman along the banks of Kabul’s Lake Qarga delighted photo-exhibition enthusiasts.
“In the end, it is about the passion to create an image, to hopefully make an icon that touches us all,” said Mr Page.
By Aurora V. Alambra, UNAMA