Youssef Boudlal

Youssef Boudlal

Casablanca, Morocco
Oujda, Morocco
“I see my job as a personal commitment. I want to report what is happening and be a witness to history.”


I cover conflict, daily life and fashion stories.

One Shot

. Sirte, Libya. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
A woman walks past smoke used to mask the smell of corpses and ward off insects attracted to the stench on the streets of Sirte City
“I like the effect of the light through the sun in this image, which appears beautiful but reflects something deeply disturbing; it’s the result of a product used to mask the smell of corpses in the streets of Sirte City.”


My earliest memories of photography are of taking pictures of my family and other people in my neighbourhood with my old camera, a Canon Programme AE1. This was my first experience in the field of photography, even though I never thought at the time that I would become a photographer.

After a year at a private photography school in 1995, I learnt how to develop and print black and white pictures. After that, I worked as a printer for Gamma press agency in Paris for four years.

My first assignment for Reuters was in Libya. There was a lot of adrenaline and I benefited very much from working with a team. We first went there to cover the uprising, but the story was moving and soon it became a war. It was such an experience.

Covering the war in Libya has made me a better person; it's made me more empathetic, it's made my ideas and my ideals more clear cut. It's made me extremely confident in my own skin.

Since 2000 I have had several assignments in different places, and each has affected me. But covering the war in Syria left the biggest mark on me because of the intensity of the experience.

Every picture I shoot is about satisfying my curiosity. I like working in a war zone, as much as covering a fashion show. I don’t see this as a contradiction, they are both part of my life experience. My field of interest is storytelling and sharing the beauty and complexity of this fantastic land of ours.

I don’t bear my audience in mind when I take pictures. Satisfying an audience is not the quest that inspires me. I see my job as a personal commitment. I want to report what is happening and be a witness to history.

Most of all, I respect the people I take pictures of, because they are living the story. Secondly, I have a lot of respect for the legendary photographers who have had the most impact on our field.

I just have one last thing to add: I love my job!

Behind the Scenes

. Aleppo, Syria
Reuters photographer Youssef Boudlal poses with twin brothers who are fighters with the Free Syrian Army, near the frontline in the El Amreeyeh neighbourhood of Aleppo.