Today The New York Times published a story about a freelance photographer’s abduction and captivity in Syria. The tale should serve as a warning for photojournalists—particularly those who are inexperienced—who might be inclined to freelance in a war zone.
Matthew Schrier was abducted in Aleppo on December 31, 2012, he told the Times, taken out of a taxi by Syrian rebels with ties to Al Qaeda and passed among rebel groups for seven months. According to the article by CJ Chivers, Schrier believes the driver of the taxi he was riding in out of Aleppo “probably” participated in his abduction.
“His experience reflects the sharply deteriorated climate for foreigners and moderate Syrians in areas subject to the whims of armed religious groups whose members roam roads, staff checkpoints and occupy a constellation of guerrilla bases,” Chivers writes.
Schrier’s captives accused him of working for the CIA, tortured and interrogated him, and assumed his identity online and communicated with his friends and family. In an account of one of the beatings Schrier suffered, Chivers writes, a captor asked Schrier, “Have you heard of Guantánamo Bay?”
When he escaped he left behind another American who couldn’t fit through the small basement window Schrier had slipped out of.
“Mr. Schrier’s detention is one of more than 15 cases of Westerners, mostly journalists, being abducted or disappearing in Syria this year,” Chivers writes. “The victims range from seasoned correspondents to new freelancers, like Mr. Schrier, who was covering his first war.”
Read the full story: http://nyti.ms/1c0IJfh
Photojournalist Natalie Keyssar discusses how women (and photographers of color) are denied the same opportunities as white men in the photo industry, and why that needs to change. “It robs everyone, including white men, of the ability to understand other perspectives. In such a terribly polarized country as we’re in today, lack of empathy... More ›
Photographer Minzayar Oo, who was reporting on the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh on assignment for GEO magazine, was detained with his assistant Hkun Lat on September 7, according to Oo’s agency, Panos Pictures. The two men have been accused of espionage. Police say the journalists entered the country on tourist visas rather than journalist visas, and... More ›
After five months of planning, Diversify Photo today launched a database of 340 photographers of color from around the U.S. Brent Lewis, senior photo editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated, told PDN in May that he and independent photo editor Andrea Wise had begun compiling the database to show photo editors, art buyers and other creatives... More ›