Akhtar Soomro

Akhtar Soomro

Karachi, Pakistan
Karachi, Pakistan
“My biggest lesson has been to be honest.”


Working for a news agency, one has to cover all sorts of subjects a little bit. But I feel most comfortable covering aftermath stories, humanitarian issues and doing street photography.

One Shot

. ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
Adeel, 8, plays with a tennis ball in front of the compound where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed.
“The events of 9/11 and the War on Terror changed things globally and in Pakistan. But after Osama bin Laden’s death, a child playing in the very same place near the compound gave me a sense of hope that life is going back to normal.”


My process of learning photography began with buying used books and magazines from old bookshops. I started shooting in black and white.

In 1998 I began working for a photo laboratory and then for an advertising agency when I discovered that I wanted to be a photojournalist. Then I started shooting assignments for local and international newspapers, magazines and stock agencies around the world.

In 2009, I was part of a New York Times' team that won a Pulitzer for ‘International Reporting’ from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I began working extensively for Reuters in 2009 and covered the people who had been internally displaced by a military offensive in Pakistan's Swat Valley, mainly taking pictures of their lives in camps. That was a great opportunity to cover individuals who had left everything back at their homes. It was a chance to listen to their personal accounts of tragedies and to raise awareness of their issues globally.

The Pakistan floods in 2010 were some of the biggest and worst in the country's history, and they led to more than 1000 deaths and millions being displaced. I hadn’t seen humanity in transition before, and covering day-to-day events and listening to people who had lost everything was an experience that I will remember for a long time.

My biggest lesson has been to be honest.