Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Based
Benghazi, Libya
Born
Benghazi, Libya
“I feel that it is my duty to my country as a press photographer to show the world what is really happening here.”

Beat

I cover conflict, daily life and sports.

One Shot

. SIRTE, Libya. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori
A horse stands in a street after clashes between Libyan interim government forces and loyalists to Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte.
“As I was on assignment in Sirte, the area where Gaddafi was hiding. I saw a horse wandering around trying to find food amid all the damage. It was a sad sight. Later, I was driving to reach the area where Gaddafi had been killed, when I saw the horse again. I felt that he was innocent of all human wrongdoings and didn't deserve to be caught up in a war.”

Profile

My initial experiences with photography were more on the artistic side, taking pictures of landscapes and portraits, but the shift into photojournalism was great and so much fun. I am always eager to include an artistic touch in my photojournalism, though. I find it important to include the beauty of the surroundings when taking a photo.

I started getting into photography when I was 21. I graduated as an architect and in 1996 I started working at a studio because of my love for photography. Through printing negatives and working with film I gained the experience I needed to start. I set aside an amount of money from my small salary until one day I bought a Canon AE1.

In the beginning I would photograph my trips with friends; taking photos of places we went to like the Libyan Desert. I left my job at the studio after 12 years and focused on self development, seeing as there are no institutions that teach photography in Libya. I learned a lot from the internet and from looking at the works of professional photographers worldwide.

When the Libyan revolution took place I covered the events in Benghazi before any foreign journalists got here. When they started arriving I would hand out DVDs of my work for free so that I could send out my photos to the world and that everyone could see what was happening here.

My first assignment for Reuters came when Suhaib Jadallah, a Reuters photographer in Gaza whom I met in Benghazi at the start of the Libyan revolution, asked me to go to a cemetery and document the funeral of rebels killed by forces loyal to then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Ajdabiyah. One of my photos was top picture of the day and I felt so happy. I felt this photo would be the start of a long road in photojournalism for me.

The Libyan revolution is the assignment that left the biggest mark on me. I saw my own countrymen fight each other every day, which brought much sadness to my heart. I can always empathise with the victims of the crisis.

I felt that it was my duty to my country as a press photographer to show the world what is really happening here.

The stories that excite me the most are the humanitarian ones because I feel that the photos I take on these assignments can actually make a difference through showing the world the suffering of people which could help in their aid.

My audience is the general public, I want to take pictures that are seen by everyone.

I really respect photojournalists in general, and specifically the Reuters team, for the work they do showing the truth with credibility and impartiality.

Behind the Scenes

. Benghazi, Libya. REUTERS/Ibrahim Al Touati
Reuters photographer Esam Omran Al-Fetori walks through smoke at the site of a fire in a market in Benghazi.
. Benghazi, Libya. REUTERS/Wael Kanoun
Reuters photographer Esam Omran Al-Fetori photographs a procession to commemorate the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday.