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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


My Life As a Wartime Photojournalist

Taken by Iraqi intelligence forces and imprisoned for more than a week in Abu Ghraib, Moises Saman’s life is all about capturing the truth through his camera.

On Sept. 22, the wartime photojournalist spoke to a large group of students in the Staller Center about his experiences in the troubled countries of the world.

Moises Saman was born in Lima, Peru in 1974, and grew up in Barcelona. He moved to the United States to attend California State University, and graduated with a degree in communications. After college, he worked as a staff photographer for Newsday.

‘It was frustrating not to be inside while the bombings were going on,’ Saman said when the Israeli army blocked off the Gaza strip to journalists.

His pictures put a serious look on many of the audience members faces. They saw images of a mother desperately looking for her child as a war was going on behind her. They saw photos of militia forces taking control of villages and of the lost boys of Afghanistan making their way to Greece.

The pictures explained the living conditions of the children and young teens. Some lived on the streets and in camps, others under bridges and in underpasses.’ Saman also showed how girls gave into prostitution for money.

A student asked Saman if he ever had to defend himself while on the job. ‘If you carry a gun and take sides, you’re no longer a journalist,” Saman said. ‘You are just adding to the problem.’

Another student asked him if his views about human nature have changed with all that he’s seen in the world. He replied to the student by saying that he is still optimistic about life. He said that it can get very depressing in many parts of the world.

One of the photos he showed the students was of a mother who was taking care of her son. He was malnourished and looked very tired. The mother in the picture was making some students smile. She had her nose and forehead pressed against her son’s face, and was smiling while her eyes were closed.

‘You can see the tenderness in this picture even with all that is going on,’ said Saman. ‘It has that universal emotion, where the mother is taking care of her son who is sick.’

Saman spoke about why he likes to work with black and white photography instead of color.

‘I really try to convey a mood through my photography,’ he said. ‘I don’t want viewers to be distracted by colors or patterns.

‘The main purpose I take these photos is to shed light on these places,’ Saman said. ‘What drives me to go back is a desire to inform people. It’s not what people in the west are used to.’

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