As a child I always knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up; a war correspondent. My mother on the other hand, did not think it was such a good idea. So, in an attempt to make it sound less scary, I told her that I would become a Middle East correspondent instead. “After all, there’s always some kind of war going on there”, I told her with a wink. Even though unfortunately the latter is true, I grew up to be neither a war- nor a Middle East correspondent. Instead I write stories safely from behind my desk. Sometimes I still feel that old fire within though, especially when I see work of the ones that did make it to the field. Conflict photographer Mareille van Uitert’s exhibit did just that.
Like Marielle I used to imagine myself traveling to far away countries with my camera at hand in pursuit of stories waiting to be told. One of the main reasons I wanted to work the Middle East was because I found the reporting too one-dimensional. People get a much deeper understanding of an issue if they know the details, background and cultural issues that have to do with the problem. I wanted to be the Middle East correspondent that dug deeper than what was on the surface. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and looking at Van Uitert’s photos and videos, I’m not sure I would be able to do it now.
Instead of just reporting an attack and the number of casualties, she aims to show us the story through the eyes of the people that have to deal with the violence and the wars. The exhibit features photos taken in Libanon, Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. There are a few very confrontational ones that definitely make you stop, think and count your blessings. Because at the end of the day we may not have everything we ever dreamed of (yet), but we are the lucky ones that have a warm, safe house to go home to, enough food on our tables and our friends and family close. I wouldn’t trade that for anything even if I have to give up my dream of being a Middle East correspondent. I prefer to travel the world and write stories about the things that make me happy. That’s probably exactly what my mother had hoped for me too 🙂
If you get a chance to, go visit the exhibition “Between peace and War” in Museum Hilversum and take a look through Marielle van Uitert’s lens. The display could be better, but the photos are definitely worth seeing. The meet and greet is on Thursday the 7th of May but the exhibit’s there until the 10th of May 2015.