“Female photojournalists can’t be found in Gaza. It’s a war zone and the nature of news is mostly violence,” says Eman Mohammed, a 25-year-old Palestinian journalist, wife and mother who lives in the Gaza Strip and knows all to well about the struggles women face in the Israeli-occupied territory.
At the age of 19, Mohammed worked multiple jobs to save enough money to buy her own photography equipment while studying journalism at a local university. But when she landed a job as a staff photographer her colleagues were not exactly welcoming. “I was harassed, threatened and abused by my colleagues, now I’m more independent in my work style and don’t mind the staring or the looks. I proved them wrong when I was nine months pregnant covering the second war on Gaza.”
Eman says it was her own mother’s encouragement that pushed her to pursue her dream, “My mom, a pharmacist and single mother in a very conservative community, never worked as a journalist but managed to encourage the photography passion in me, teaching me the importance of capturing special moments and pushing me to go against all odds.”
While Mohammed may have overcome many of the obstacles of being a female photojournalist in Gaza, the region still presents other challenges. “Photographing the bodies of people I worked with a couple of days ago during the war was the hardest, I was shooting all blurry at first. Then you have the kids and their mothers, and that can never be an easy thing to shoot. Nothing about war is pleasant or easy. Honestly I don’t think any photojournalist, male of female, is safe in such a place. You don’t hear a warning siren and your vest with a “PRESS” tag on it won’t protect you, not fully.”
Eman Mohammed currently works as a freelance photographer
and reporter in Gaza. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Mother Jones, the Guardian, Le Monde, and Geo International. – Katie Wood, denverpost.com
A Palestinian security officer watching hundred of thousands of Hamas supporters while they are celebrating the 21 anniversary of establishing the Islamic movement of resistance (Hamas) in Gaza city,14th of Dec.2008 photo by Eman Mohammed
GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP – JULY 09: A general view of Gaza’s beach on a busy Friday’s afternoon. (photo by Eman Mohammed /Getty Images for WHAT’S NEXT)
eight palestinian children from same family look out while a funeral ( not seen) passes by, as laundry spreads along their window.
Palestinian fishermen collect fish from the nets that they set early in the morning at the Gaza City beach, 26 March 2009. Palestinian fishermen are still denied from going deeper than one mile in the Gaza sea, as the Israeli Navy rarely allows them to leave the shallow waters.
Palestenian girl recites Qura’an verses in a mosque at Gaza City, Gaza Strip, on 24 June 2009. Hamas launched summer camps dedicated to the study of the Qura’an, drawing a broad participation from Gazans photo by Eman Mohammed
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