by Jordi Bieber (Agency Noor)
Nine renowned photojournalists have created a new photo agency called Noor. The mission: to tell what happens in the world no matter the restrictions for publications no matter how how hard it is to learn about it. It is refreshing to see that these values lead the work of photojournalism.
Noor is: Samantha Appleton (United States), Jodi Bieber (South Africa), Philip Blenkinsop (Australia), Pep Bonet (Spain), Jan Grarup (Denmark), Stanley Greene (United States), Yuri Kozyrev (Russia), Kadir van Lohuizen (The Netherlands) and Francesco Zizola (Italy)
As a collective with a non-profit arm, Noor has high ambitions. Its members hope the arrangement will give them time and freedom to tell important international stories, work on collaborative projects, explore non-traditional avenues of funding, and get the work seen – beyond the constraints of magazine assignments.
But following a gory, despair-laden presentation of previous work by its members, the agency was already fielding questions about whether it can find a market for this intense – and intensely depressing – storytelling.
“We don’t apologize for ruining your day and making you think hard about things,” said Noor photographer Samantha Appleton, answering the complaints about the presentation. “Some people probably will have a problem with that, and those are the people we’re trying to reach the most.” – from PDN online
Samantha Appleton (USA, 1975): Samantha Appleton has worked on self-motivated projects primarily in the Middle East and Africa, and on migrant workers in North and Central America. Samantha participated in the
2005 World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass, was one of the “30 Under 30” photographers featured in Photo District News and has won a first place award for feature photography from “Pictures of the Year”. Her two main clients are Time magazine and The New Yorker. Samantha resides in Portland (Maine) and New York.
Jodi Bieber (South Africa, 1966) – Jodi is best known for her body of work on the youth living on the fringe of society in her own country, South Africa, and her recently published book featuring this project, Between Dogs and Wolves – Growing up with South Africa. She has also worked extensively in other parts of the world. Jodi has won eight World Press Photo Awards, lectured in photography and participated in exhibitions internationally. Jodi is based in Johannesburg.
Philip Blenkinsop (Australia, 1965) – Since arriving in Asia in 1989, Philip’s name has become synonymous with forgotten conflicts. From weeks spent traversing the mountains of East Timor with Falintil
guerrillas, to tribal war and cannibalism in Borneo, to the tragic plight of Hmong Veterans and their families lost deep in the heart of Laos’ forbidden zone. Philip’s most recent reports have been with the New People’s Army in the Southern Philippines and Thailand’s Southern insurgency. When not in the field, Philip resides in Bangkok.
Pep Bonet (Spain, 1974) – Pep’s work focuses on African issues and long-term projects. His work on social issues such as HIV/AIDS has led to two photography books and 35 exhibitions worldwide. His most known work is “Faith in Chaos”, an ongoing photo essay on the aftermath of the war in Sierra Leone. Pep is currently finishing a project on Somalia. He was the 2005 winner of the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant, in addition to other international grants and prizes. Pep lives in Mallorca.
Jan Grarup (Denmark, 1968) – Over the last 18 years, Jan has traveled the world documenting many of the defining moments of history. From the fall of the communist regime in Romania to the current occupation of Iraq, he has covered numerous wars and conflicts, including the genocide in Rwanda. He has documented daily life on both sides of the intifada with his stories “The boys from Ramallah” and “The boys from Hebron”. In 2006 he published the book Shadowland. Jan is a recipient of numerous awards and resides in Copenhagen.
Stanley Greene (USA, 1949)– Stanley Greene has worked extensively all over the world. His most well-known body of work is his coverage of the war in Chechnya. He is a recipient of the Eugene Smith Humanistic Grant and numerous other awards. Stanley is based in Paris and New York.
Yuri Kozyrev (Russia, 1963) – Yuri has been a photographer for the last twenty years. He has covered conflicts in the former Soviet Union, the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and has lived and worked most of the past five years in Iraq, working for Time magazine. He has received the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award, as well as the
Olivier Rebbot Award for best magazine story. Yuri is based in Bagdad and Moscow.
Kadir van Lohuizen (Netherlands, 1963) – Kadir has covered conflicts in Africa and elsewhere, but is probably best known for his projects on seven rivers of the world and the diamond industry. He has received numerous prizes, including two World Press Photo awards. He has twice been a World Press Photo Contest jury member, and has published four photo books. Kadir is based in Amsterdam and New York.
Francesco Zizola (Italy, 1962) – Francesco has photographed the world’s major conflicts and its hidden crises. His latest book “Iraq” published with Amnesty International (2007), document the beginning of Iraq II, a never ending war – a war without witnesses, a war which has become off limits for photographers. His book, Born Somewhere (2004), was the result of 13 years covering the situation of children around the world in 28 countries. His book, Born Somewhere (2004) was the result of 13 years covering the situation of children in 28 countries around the world. He has received numerous international awards and prizes, including, the World Press Photo of the Year in 1996, documenting the tragedy of land mines in Angola, seven World Press Photo awards and four Pictures of the Year Awards. Francesco lives in Rome.
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