Morteza Nikoubazl

Morteza Nikoubazl

Based
Tehran, Iran
Born
Tehran, Iran
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 6D, 5D Mark III
“The best images can be found in places where we think there is nothing to shoot.”

Beat

I mostly cover politics, because that’s where Iran makes the news. I also shoot daily life, art, sports, entertainment, and financial stories.

One Shot

. QANA, Lebanon. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl
A Lebanese man plants a national flag in the ground at a cemetery before a funeral ceremony for the victims of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah in the city of Qana.
“My favourite picture was taken during a mass funeral ceremony for victims of the conflict between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel in 2006. I was standing with some other photographers on the corner of a cemetery in Qana, southern Lebanon, when I saw a Hezbollah flag waving in the wind with some nice sunlight shining on it. I thought that it would be a good image if a Lebanese man came up and put a Lebanese flag next to it. After less than a minute, a man with two flags in his hands came up and put one of them just in the place where I was hoping he would. I will never forget that.”

Profile

I was taught photography in the college of art and architecture of Iran’s Azad University in Tehran.

I started working for Reuters in 1999 and always looked forward to an assignment abroad. One day in 2006, I was on vacation when Tehran’s chief photographer Caren Firouz called and told me that I should try to get my visas for Syria and Lebanon to help the Reuters team cover the conflict between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israel. That was big news for me, but I was a little bit worried because I had never had an experience like that before.

In Lebanon I learnt the real meaning of teamwork. In the south of the country I was working for a big team including photographers, cameramen and correspondents, and I learnt to hold back from a picture if it was something that my team decided not to cover. Working in the north, I learnt that, wherever I am, I have to work and explore stories for my agency, because there is always a photo somewhere or other waiting to be captured.

One assignment about women wearing white chadors (traditional Islamic garments) left a big mark on me. I asked Reuters to do this assignment in black and white, and it was a big deal for me because I had to show that I could do it well. After my story was published, I thought it was okay, because it was my first black and white set of pictures, and it ended up being selected as the “best story of the week”.

I have felt war with all my senses; when I was just a 6-year-old child, I lived in the border city of Abadan, a centre of conflict during the Iran-Iraq war. I am always interested in war and people who do not want it but they have to live with it.

When I take pictures, I think of light, colour and contrast, and I think about my story and story of the people and places around me.

The best images can be found in places where we think there is nothing to shoot.

I have a lot of respect for Kaveh Golestan, a BBC cameraman who was killed during the war in Iraq, and the photographer Mohammad Eslami Rad. They taught me that a good picture doesn’t come from a camera, a good picture comes from your mind, eyes and your outlook on world.

Behind the Scenes

. Beirut, Lebanon
Morteza Nikoubazl covers the 2006 conflict in Beirut.