Ein jemenitischer Farmer liegt auf einer Wiese am Straßenrand. In Stille überblickt er die Terrassenhügel von Ibb, auf denen Mais, Feigen und Khat (eine berauschende Droge die aus dem Khatstrauch gewonnen wird) angebaut werden. Ein Moment fernab vom Bürgerkrieg, der den Jemen immer weiter auseinanderreißt.
In ihren Reisen durch das gespaltene Land findet die Fotografin Nariman El-Mofty viele dieser verweilenden Momente. Momente zwischen Innehalten und Flucht.
Die Spaltung ist tief: Teile des Nordens, auch die Hauptstadt Sanaa, sind im Griff der schiitischen Houthi-Rebellen. Sie werden bedrängt von regierungstreuen Koalitionskräften, die unter dem Einfluss Saudi-Arabiens und der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate stehen. Im Süden gibt es eine eigene Unabhängigkeitsbewegung, und auch Dschihadisten haben im Jemen Rückzugsorte.
Die Zivilisten beider Seiten müssen jedoch mit der Gewalt und dem Krieg leben, und beide Seiten suchen Sicherheit und Alltag. Eine Reportage, die diese Suche dokumentiert und dabei gleichzeitig die Schönheit Jemens nicht aus dem Auge verliert.
First of all we’d be interested to know what you experienced during the time in Yemen? Do you think, things have changed since you photographed in July/August?
The most I would say or would rather talk about is a fact and a real fact is: Yemeni people are in severe need of constant aid.
Millions are food insecure from Yemen’s 29 million population. Over a million children suffer from malnutrition and thousands are at risk of death due to starvation. This is the slowest form of torture I’ve seen. For example, people are feeding off of tree leaves known as Halas in Hajjah.
When and where were you born, where have you been educated und what are the stages of your professional career?
I was born in Cairo in 1988 and went to school in the city. I am also Canadian, so I went to university in Montreal and after I graduated, I came back to look for work in Egypt which was 2011 during the Arab Spring. There was a photo editor position open in The Associated Press and I got the job. From 2011-2016 I was a photo editor based in Cairo on the Middle East desk dealing with coverage from the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In addition to that I covered editing and photo assignments on the field.
In 2016 I received the photojournalist position based in Cairo for the AP.
What is your standard camera equipment? Is there any special or favorite gear?
My standard camera equipment is Canon Mark III with 40mm lens and 24-70mm. My favorite would be the 40mm lens because it is very small, and it makes people at more comfort in heavy situations. It’s what I mostly use in my work. I do not like big lenses when dealing with extremely sensitive issues because I feel that technique and equipment should suit the story and situation.
Why did you choose a medium picture format?
Traveling with a lot of equipment to Yemen is not possible. I usually don’t like cropping my photographs but I decided to turn them into square format to suit the idea of postcards or like polaroid postcards from a journey to get that mood.
I tried to even shoot it in a way to center the photographs so when I crop them as squares they make sense. My editors supported the idea and we did it.
How do you process/edit your images? What particular software or apps do you utilize?
I edit all my work only on Adobe Photoshop.
Do you have photographic role models?
There are so many role models, but Egyptian photojournalist Farouk Ibrahim is an inspiration. He broke through a lot of barriers the way he photographed Egypt’s President Sadat in his home and his daily life.
Is there a portfolio or photobook that inspired you?
“She Who Tells a Story” is a photobook I always look back at for inspiration in visual storytelling. It includes 12 leading women strong photographers from Iran and the Arab world.
Where can one find more of your photographic work? Website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter …
I’m mostly updated on Instagram with my latest work.