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Bill Pierce use to joke (this was maybe fifteen years ago) about how hard it was to cover a conflict these days, because, "Even if you went to photograph the smallest rebel group in Africa, you'd still have to go through a PR guy. Even if there were only two rebels, they'd take turns, one day rebel #1 would be the spokesman, the next day rebel #2."

I always thought Bill could have been exaggerating just a bit, until I read this in the NEW YORK TIMES today.

"The pirates who answered the phone call on Tuesday morning from The New York Times said they were speaking by satellite phone from the bridge of the Faina, the Ukrainian cargo ship that was hijacked about 200 miles off the coast of Somalia on Thursday. Several pirates talked, but they said that only Mr. Sugule was authorized to be quoted."

Alexandra Avakian's New Book is Now Available


WINDOWS OF THE SOUL : My Journeys in the Muslim World by Alexandra Avakian is now available (here).

The book is a memoir of the two decades (or so) Alexandra spent documenting the world of Islam from Central Asia, throughout the Middle East, Persia, Africa and the United States.

Alexandra is a remarkable person. She's lived the life that many aspire to live. There is little in the human experience that she hasn't both seen and photographed.

I first met Alex, I don't know, could it be thirty years ago? Not quite. We both came on the scene about the same time. Actually, the first time was looking at images on a light-box. She wasn't even there. I was looking at some work she did in Haiti. There was one frame in particular that struck me. It was an image of a woman on the beach, dressed primarily in rags. The image was shot from behind, so you didn't see the woman's face, but you could see the straps of her bra showing through her worn and tattered clothes.

It was an image that said so much about the subject. It had great insight, yet it didn't even show the person's face.

I couldn't image someone who sees like that, who approaches a subject like that. Yeah, so I was intrigued. It was one of those situations (which happens now and then), where you see someone's work, and without knowing anything more, you know they're going to be cool.


Here's Alexandra covering the death of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 (I wish I had a better copy of this).

She's got a ton of interviews lined up right now, but I'll post a chat with her pretty soon.

This is the first book published from National Geographic's Focal Point imprint, which is their attempt to capitalize on their huge image library by publishing titles that are designed to appeal to serious students of photography. This fall they also have THE LIFE OF A PHOTOGRAPH, by Sam Abell, and WAR+PEACE by Reza coming out. I'm looking forward to both of these books.