• Published: Huck Magazine

    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 Those scenes went unpublished.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.

  • Location: Kuwait/Qatar/UAE/Oman

    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.

  • Published: @everydaymiddleeast on Time Lightbox

    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:

    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:

  • Location: Philippines

    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

  • Location: In Kurdistan

    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.

  • Park del Centre de Poblenou, Barcelona

    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.

  • Introducing @everydaymiddleeast

    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.

  • Location: Back in Spain

    I'm back home in Catalonia. Available on my mobile: +34 630 324 327 or landline: +34 972 597 876.

  • Upcoming: Project in Barcelona "Retratant la ciutat"

    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): and here (in Spanish):

  • Location: In and around Croatia

    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.

  • Published: National Geographic Traveler

    A photo that I took while working on a National Geographic Expeditions trip to Cuba in May was recently published on the 'Travel 365' page of National Geographic Traveler's website. Here's the link.

  • Updated Photo Story - Algeria: Plus ça change

    I was in Algeria for the second time in April of this year and have now had a chance to update a story I started working on there in 2012. See the full photo set here.

    More photos from Algeria are also available on the Redux archive, here and here.

  • Published: The Scene

    Photos from an assignment in Turkey in the spring have been published in Colgate University's alumni magazine, The Scene.

    Additional photos are also in the University's admissions material, including this Viewbook.

  • News: Presentations in Vancouver & Whistler, BC

    Samuel Aranda and I will be speaking at 7:00 on Wednesday, May 29th at Langara College in Vancouver, BC as part of their Photography Masters Series. Ticket and venue information here.

    We did a radio interview with CBC's On the Coast before the event. That interview can be accessed here.

    Then on June 5th we will be in my hometown of Whistler BC to give a presentation hosted by the Whistler Arts Council at 8:00 PM at Millennium Place. Ticket and venue information here.  The presentation and a bit about our work was covered in local newspaper The Whistler Question.

  • Location: In Vancouver, Canada

    I've just arrived in Vancouver, Canada and will be here until June 8th. After that I'll be in Cuba for another National Geographic Expedition from June 9 - 17, and then back to Spain for the summer.

    Available on 1-778-918-8627.

  • Published: Le Monde

    A set of photos from Bioko, Equatorial Guinea have been published in the 'Geopolitique' section of Le Monde. There is also a larger photo gallery online (available to subscribers only).