Majid Saeedi

Afghanistan a Land of Continuous Conflict

Afghanistan has been at war for most of the last 40 years and impacted by invasion, occupation, insurgency, civil war. What lies ahead for the people of Afghanistan after foreign troops withdraw this year? The election of a new president this year provides a promise for democracy, while civilian casualties and insurgent attacks are showing significant increase. With the withdrawal, the future holds both promise and great risk.

According to a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair (OCHA) Afghanistan ranks near the bottom on many humanitarian measures.

Women and girls are especially at risk in Afghanistan as Taliban targets women activists, educators and those working outside the home. They have focused attacks on schools for girls which has caused a %12 literacy rate among women in Afghanistan.

Despite of the violence, poverty, drug addiction and lack of education life goes on in Afghanistan. People continue to live with hope for a better tomorrow. Insecurity is still very common, one may leave his household and never returns and almost everyone has been touched with trauma and loss. I have lived and worked as a photojournalist in Afghanistan during the last decade but I did not photograph the war.  Instead, I embedded myself with ordinary people photographing their daily life. I wanted to capture life not war. I never understood how portentous, traumatic passage of life has impacted these people, as they always remained impassive in front of my camera. We have seen countless images of Afghanistan, particularly images of soldiers and aid workers throughout the country, but these images don’t portray the real Afghanistan. The real Afghanistan may be an image of a humble child looking at my lens without a smile or in contrast, an image of women who have set themselves on fire to express their despair about their lives, images of men, women and children who have lost their arms and legs due to land mines…

“Life in War” captures the resilience of people struggling to make meaningful lives amidst the insecurity and endless violence that afflicts their country.  By applying to Festival Photoreporter in the Baie, I am hoping to return to Afghanistan and do a follow up on my project as the country consolidate recent advances in democracy and development in the face of a renewed insurgency.

I would be traveling to different provinces as well as surveying Kabul where I am based out of.

I have had the opportunity of working extensively in Afghanistan, documenting lives of Afghan men, women and children and show how their lives have changed as the war goes on. I am familiar with different provinces of Afghanistan, their cultural, religious and social norms and because I speak the language, I have the advantage of blending in well. I want to capture what it takes to live and rebuild their destroyed lives. What it takes to restore a society and address the lingering wounds of war while struggling to create new avenues for peace, on their own, without the presence of Western troops.

I wish to continue and develop the work I have already done and have been doing for more than 20 years. My defined project is carrying its visual worldwide impact without much work explanation, which could be used sociological, historical and aesthetic.

 

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Biography

Majid Saeedi is an Iranian documentary photographer. He has photographed Middle East with a focus on the humanitarian aspect for the past two decades. Majid also takes a special interest in telling the untold stories of social issues and social injustice through his photos. Majid was born and raised in Tehran. 

He started photography at the age of sixteen and when he turned eighteen, he went to Iran Iraq border to take photos of the refugees.
Majid is currently collaborating with Getty Images, covering Afghanistan and Iran photo reportages. He has managed photography department of various news agencies in Iran and led numerous key projects for over 15 years.

One of Majid’s interests is to do street photography and portray citizens’ ordinary lives. When Majid is not working, he likes to teach photography to students and mentor young photographers.

Majid has won numerous prominent and prestigious photography awards from around the world. He has received the title of “The Best Photographer of Iran” eight times. His photos has been published in international presses such as Times, Spiegel, Life, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Time Magazine and various Middle Eastern publications and online agencies.

Majid has traveled to many countries in the Middle East and photographed the injustice as well as the atrocities. His recent photo story displayed the images of the Afghan people whose lives have been affected by several decades of war in Afghanistan.





Work Experience

Head of photo department for Nine Newspapers in Ran Sincen 1998 in different periods

Photographer or Time Magazine in Afghanistan in 2001
Founder of Far News Agency and head of photo department in 2004
Photographer of Getty Images in Middle East since 2004 till now

Awards
Seven times selected as the Best Photographer of the year in Iran in
1992 – 1994 – 1996 – 1997 – 1999 – 2000 – 2001

Second Prize of International Art Festival 2005
4 Gold Medals from Asahi Japan in 2000 – 2005 – 2006 – 2008

First Prize of International Photo Awards, USA, 2005
3rd Prize of POY-USA 2007
New Prize in USA 2010
UNICEF Photography Prize 2010

Exhibition Area : Carré Rosengart