I'm back in and around Beirut. Available at +961 389 7069.
The Instagram feed @everydaymiddleeast that I started up and manage is now a year old. And what a year it's been! We've grown to include 25 contributing photographers from across the region who've posted more than 700 photos on Instagram. We've attracted more than 55,000 followers on Instagram, where we've seen more than 400,000 'interactions' (likes, comments, etc). Our Facebook page has more than 18,000 followers. We've also just launched our Twitter feed.
Offline, we participated in two exhibitions - one together with the other 'Everyday' projects, curated by Instagram itself at Photoville in New York City in September 2014. The other was a solo exhibition for Everyday Middle East at the Gulf Photo Plus Gallery in Dubai in Jan/Feb 2015. In Dubai we also brought together five contributing photographers for a presentation about the project.
Here are some links to publication highlights for Everyday Middle East and the rest of the Everyday projects from the past year:
- Time Lightbox
- L'Oeil de la Photographie
- Instagram blog
- For more, see our Facebook Album of Publications and Exhibitions.
What's next? We have a special exibition planned as part of the Middle East Now Festival in Florence (April 8 - 13, 2015). Next month we'll put out a call for new contributors in order to broaden and diversify the perspectives you see on the feed. And we're working together with the other Everyday Projects to start up an NGO, after which we hope to participate in an education initiative started up by Everyday Africa that's already seen some success. Finally, we're starting to look for funding to be able to put cameras in the hands of people across the region who might not otherwise have access to them. If you want to be involved in some way, feel free to get in touch at everydaymiddleeast at gmail dot com.
Last week I was a busy shooting a number of events taking place around Art Dubai. Here are a couple of outtakes from a party hosted by Maserati at the Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach.
I'm in Dubai for the next two weeks. I'll be helping out at Gulf Photo Plus and shooting a series of events related to Art Dubai. Available on +971 52 544 3811.
Photos + video for The Globe and Mail's Report on Business Magazine. Here's the link.
I'll be in and around the Gulf region for the next few months. On January 20th I'll be giving a presentation about @everydaymiddleeast at the Gulf Photo Plus gallery in Dubai.
From Jan 26 - Feb 15th I'll be traveling around the region in Kuwait City, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and around Oman.
I'm currently in Doha, Qatar: +974 3322 8790
I recently rediscovered a set of previously unpublished portraits from an impromptu portrait studio I set up in Change Square in Yemen one afternoon in late 2011. You can see the portraits on my personal Instagram feed, @lindsay_mackenzie.
An image from my old neighbourhood of Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia was published this month in National Geographic Traveler's "Best of the World" issue. They recomend Tunisia as one of the Top 20 Places to Visit in 2015. I couldn't agree more.
I'm currently in and around Vancouver, Canada. Available at +1 604 345 0417 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
An ode to Sanaa in the latest issue of Northern Correspondent (magazine available to order here).
A piece I wrote about the imagery of the Middle East has been published in Huck Magazine's Documentary Photography Issue. You can't read the article online so I'll post the text below (or you can buy the magazine here). Thanks to Hanif Shoaei, Christina Rizk, Kiana Hayeri, Iman Al-Dabbagh and Laura Boushnak for also contributing images.
//Everyday Middle East//
//A quieter picture of Middle Eastern life is taking shape on Instagram, away from the bias of explosive front-page news.//
In January 2011, inspired by a young street vendor's self-immolation, ordinary Tunisians walked onto the streets into a wall of tear gas and riot police to demand change. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, their dictator of more than 20 years, fled the country.
It's a familiar story. Reporting on the Arab Spring usually includes a nod to Tunisia as the 'birthplace' of the uprisings that spread across North Africa and the Middle East. But then it moves on.
I stayed. To me, it seemed important to document more than just the beginning. What happens next? It's one thing to force a dictator to flee, but another to replace a dictatorial system with something else. Something else that works.
Someone had to take charge, but not take over. Elections, campaigns, political parties, a new constitution – the basic infrastructure of society had to emerge. A new national identity had to be defined. Would it strike a balance between secular and religious beliefs? The root causes of the revolution – joblessness and stagnation, hopelessness and frustration – had to be addressed.
Over the two years I was based in Tunisia, it came to feel like home. But I hardly recognised the place I'd come to know when I looked at the western mainstream media. The only photographs I sold were of women wearing niqabs, and protesting men with beards and black flags.
“MUSLIM RAGE.” That was the title of a Newsweek cover story in September 2012. The cover photo, predictably, focused on angry bearded men shouting at a protest.
But what about the everyday moments? Where were the photos of girls embracing during the election campaign, or women recording rap albums; of families going to the beach, or young men goofing around? Those scenes went unpublished.
And so it went.
On October 23, 2011, Tunisia organised its first truly free elections since independence in 1956. I watched the press corps arrive en masse to cover the story. But on October 20, three days before the elections, they all left. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had been pulled out of a culvert and killed in Sirte, on camera, by a group of rebel fighters who then displayed his bullet-ridden body in a giant freezer in Misrata.
Cue the media circus.
On the night of the Tunisian elections I ran into a friend and asked him if he voted. He proudly showed me his ink-stained finger and told me that the polling station where he was assigned to vote was at his old high school. The classroom where he cast his ballot, he said, was where he once had a class about democracy during the dictatorship. “Today was the first day I could use what we learned in that class,” he told me, holding back tears.
But stories like these - the quiet dignity that marked Tunisia's successful elections, the overwhelming voter turnout that put 'modern' democracies to shame – were overshadowed by grainy cell phone videos of the grisly mob death of the senile dictator next door. That was our only image of the Arab world that week.
As Tunisia tried to find its way, there was always something more tragic, more gruesome, more sensational. Tunisia's transition hasn't been problem-free. Far from it. But it hasn't descended into chaos. And so, for the most part, it hasn't been covered. We only see the photos of women wearing niqabs and shouting bearded men.
It’s not that I believe that we shouldn’t cover those things. But that we shouldn’t cover those things exclusively. Repeatedly. And without context.
I couldn’t publish everyday images from Tunisia in the mainstream media, so I started posting them on Instagram. Inspired by Everyday Africa, another Instagram project founded by photojournalist Peter DiCampo and writer Austin Merrill, I gathered together a group of photographers from across North Africa and the Middle East to contribute to Everyday Middle East (@everydaymiddleeast). It may not be the most high-profile documentary photography platform, but I believe its portrayal of the region is more accurate than that of many 'legitimate' media outlets.
Maybe one day the ‘real’ media will grow up and find a way to cover ‘others’ more like we cover ourselves – as complicated beings, products of complicated circumstances, capable of a range of emotions.
Until then, we’ll be on Instagram.
I'm currently in Oman. Will be here and in Kuwait, the UAE and here until early November. My local number is +971 501 228 927.
This week Time magazine's photography blog, LightBox, published a piece about the expansion of the Instagram-based Everyday Projects, including the feed I founded and administer, Everyday Middle East (@everydaymiddleeast). Read the article here: http://lightbox.time.com/2014/08/25/everyday-life-around-the-world-as-told-through-instagram
Next up for the Everyday Projects - our first exhibition during NYC's Photoville - September 18 - 28, 2014. The Everyday exhibition has been curated by Instagram editoral director Pamela Chen, Facebook's Teru Kuwayama, and Everyday Africa's Peter DiCampo. If you'll be in New York in late September, be sure to take a look. Here's the link: http://www.
I'm in the Philippines this week - Manila and Tacloban - to produce some audio stories for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Back in Spain in September.
If you need to get in touch, send me an email at email@example.com
I'm 'taking over' the Instagram feed of the Smithsonian Magazine this week, with dispatches from the places in-between - short stories and images from Equatorial Guinea, Algeria and the Kurdish Region of Iraq. Follow along on Instagram at @smithsonianmagazine
I'm happy to have my work included in The Magenta Foundation's 10-year anniversary publication, 'Flash Forward Tenth' as one of the highlighted photographers from Canada. More information here.
I'm spending the week in Kurdish region of Iraq - in and out of Erbil. The best way to get in touch is by email. I'll be back in Barcelona on Friday, May 23.
The Instagram project that I started up in March has gotten off to a great start. We now have 23 regular contributing photographers, and after spending two weeks on Instagram's Suggested User List, we have more than 30,000 followers. This weekend the project was featured in print and on the photography blog of UAE-based newspaper The National: http://www.thenational.ae/blogs/national-view/everyday-arab-life
Published photos in the New York Times from Barcelona for an article about 'smart' systems in Europe: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/22/business/energy-environment/europe-remains-ahead-of-us-in-creating-smart-cities.html
Last week I had an assignment to provide photos for The New York Times for a story about 'smart' systems in Barcelona, one of which is a smart watering system for some of the city's parks. It was a great excuse to discover the Park del Centre de Poblenou, a modernist corner of the city thankfully not (yet) taken over by tourists.
Published a piece + photos in The Sounder about a very Catalan spring tradition - the calcotada. Read more here.
While working in the Middle East and North Africa I'm often struck by how much attention is paid by the western mainstream media to the worst cases or most extreme minorities, and conversly, how little attention and imagery are devoted to the middle-ground majority experience. I wonder what our image of Canada and America would be like if we covered places close to home the same way we cover places that are far away (probably something like this).
For this reason, I'm excited to introduce the launch of a new project: Everyday Middle East. The project is an Instagram feed by photographers working in the Middle East and North Africa. By displaying mobile phone images from our day-to-day lives we hope to work against the stereotypes and visual tropes that are so prevalent about the region in the mainstream media.
Current @everydaymiddleeast contributors are: Dalia Khammissy, Bryan Denton, Tamara Abdul Hadi, Laura El Tantawy, Wissam Nassar, Tanya Habjouqa, Silvia Razgova, Newsha Tavakolian, Christina Rizk, Kiana Hayeri, Ed Ou, Iman Aldabbagh, Alex Kay Potter, Laura Boushnak, Samuel Aranda and myself.
We're inspired by @everydayafrica - a project conceived by Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill.
Find us on Instagram at @everydaymiddleeast, or follow us on Facebook.
I'm back home in Catalonia. Available on my mobile: +34 630 324 327 or landline: +34 972 597 876.
I've been to a lot of museums. So many that these days, it takes a lot to tempt me into another one. But this one in Zagreb, Croatia, sounded so quirky that I went in my free time: The Museum of Broken Relationships. Here's a short piece + photos that I published in The Sounder: http://www.trufflepig.com/museum-of-broken-relationships/
A photo that I took while working in Split, Croatia was recently published on the 'Travel 365' page of National Geographic Traveler's website. Here's the link.
I'll be in Cuba again from Feb 02 - 10 and Feb 16 - 24 for National Geographic Expeditions. The best way to reach me while I'm there is via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or if urgent my Spanish cell: +34 630 324 327.
In April and May 2014 I'll be doing some teaching as part of a new project in Barcelona "Objectiu BCN: Retratant la Ciutat" is a photo documentary project that attemps to be a memory of Barcelona city in 2014. Curated by Samuel Aranda, the project Includes workshops, talks, and a final exhibtion with all the participants.
12 cultural centers around the city will hold the workshops over the next six months. The new Barcelona Museum of Design will hold the masterclasses.
More info here (in Catalan): http://barcelonacultura.bcn.cat/descobreix/retratant-la-ciutat and here (in Spanish): http://barcelonacultura.bcn.cat/es/descubre/retratando-la-ciudad
I'll be in and around Croatia for the next month. My local contact number in Croatia is +385 91 761 3280.
From September 26 - October 03 I'll be in Slovenia at +386 51 773 375.
Photo: A wedding celebration in Trogir, Croatia.