Alia Haju

Alia Haju

Based
Beirut, Lebanon
Born
Tyre, Lebanon
Status
Reuters photographer
Camera
Canon 5D Mark II
“Our job as journalists is also to be the voice for those who don't have a voice.”

Beat

Politics, general news, daily life.

One Shot

. Bekaa, Lebanon. Reuters/Alia Haju
A Syrian refugee child eats inside his family's tent at an informal settlement in Deir al-Ahmar, Bekaa valley. Senior UN officials visited Syrian refugees in the Bekaa region and called for the international community to help the Lebanese government to deal with the refugee crisis.
“I went inside a tent to find a little boy eating from a frying pan. The light was magical and for me this charming boy showed the misery of the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon.”

Profile

My earliest memory of photography is my mother’s camera. I grew up with the smell of the chemicals used to develop film in her closet. She would always lock it up because otherwise I would rifle through her photos and mess them up.

I have taken photos for as long as I can remember, growing up as I did with my mother’s camera at home. My studies included photography at university but I learnt the practice from local photojournalist friends.

I always wanted to be an artist. I grew up drawing and painting then studied conceptual art at university. My interest slowly shifted to photography and video. After graduating I worked on cinema sets as an art director and photographer. I was also doing photo stories for newspapers and magazines. I decided that this is what I wanted to do, given my passion for storytelling and documentary photography.

The assignment that left the biggest mark on me was in 2008, before I started working for Reuters. For a week armed gunmen loyal to two political parties - Lebanon's Iran-allied Shi'ite group Hezbollah and Sunni Future movement - clashed on the streets of Beirut. I documented what happened in my neighbourhood near my old university. I found it very frustrating to see fellow university students carrying weapons in the streets.

I really like human-interest stories, especially with children as they don’t pretend to be something they’re not.

My dream story would probably be something extreme: the South Pole and penguins or birds of paradise. Also spaceships and outer space, definitely!

Photojournalists make the news authentic - it’s about the trust we are given and how we try to portray events in the most transparent way possible. Our job as journalists is also to be the voice for those who don't have a voice.

The person I most respect is my father: he has been always true to himself and others, especially his family. He tried his best raising us and educating us. Most of all, he encourages me.