I went to one of the most enlightening evenings of my life today; a presentation of the work of Reza, who was at the Frontline Club to discuss his book ‘War and Peace’. After having had an excellent Portfolio Review at the foto8 offices this afternoon, it topped off a pretty fabulous day.
Reza’s work spans some of the most poignant moments of the 20th (and, indeed, the 21st) Century and is remarkable in both its breadth and quality; not surprising from a man whom National Geographic celebrated on film as one of the men in the world today capable of changing the way that lives are led. Of all his work, I find his images of children and the dignity and hope he portrays within their faces the most satisfying. Reza commented that within children he sees the possibility of change, and in some small way this is the same reason that I have taken many images of children throughout my own work around the world. I love their interest, fascination and the lack of social ‘fear’ that is often so ever-present within adults. Their minds are still free of restraint and open to the possibility of change, and you can see it their eyes.
Reza’s work with AINA is to be admired and is a lesson for us all in raising awareness for those who cannot do it by themselves. He has changed people’s lives in a way that most individuals cannot ever hope to replicate. And he does this with intense modesty. He is truly one of the most inspirational characters I have ever met.
When asked what advice he would give to aspiring photojournalists, Reza answered that one must be passionate, true and to ‘never sell your soul to the devil’. In all the successful people I have met, whatever their line of work, these qualities are present; passion above all. This message came through to me throughout my Portfolio Review as well, about ‘having heart and vision’, and is a real message for the future.
It really has been a life-changing day!