Sharjah: Photography highlights the human cost of war and raise awareness about victims, a Welsh photojournalist told the Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah.
Claire Thomas made the comments while showing pictures taken by her from conflict zones during her talk, ‘From Wales to War: A Journey into Frontline Photography’ at the event, which ends on Saturday. “Photography is important in confronting the horrors of war, putting a face to crisis and serving as reminder of the humanity,” she said.
From the frontline
She had been covering frontline medics in the war against Daesh in Mosul, Iraq. “In 2017, I documented the work of international medics operating out of makeshift field clinics behind the front lines in Mosul. The photographs highlight the trauma faced by civilians caught in this war and also the incredible work of the volunteers who saved countless lives at great risk to their own,” she said. “I joined a unit on the front line and with my camera swinging around my neck and my helmet protecting my head. I spent a lot of time getting the whole picture and telling the human stories of people caught in the crossfire, all while taking shelter in deserted houses and rumbled neighbourhoods.”
From Wales to war
Talking about her journey from Wales to war zones, Thomas said: “Following a few freelance assignments with local newspapers in Wales, I travelled to Palestine where I began producing photo essays about life in West Bank and the daily struggles of Palestinians. From there, I returned to Europe to cover the refugee crisis where I met many Kurdish and Iraqi families who had been displaced from their homes by Daesh. Hearing their stories, I wanted to better understand the horror that was driving people to flee their homes and risk their lives trying to reach the European shores.”
During the talk, one of the pictures that showed an acutely malnourished two-month old boy fighting for his life while being treated by medics drove home the understanding of high cost of war the innocent pay, especially children. “I saw these people were without food and water trying to save their lives for many days. Some of them were critically malnourished … A doctor contacted me after a couple of years to share that the boy got the treatment and was doing well.”
The four-day festival, hosting over 50 world-renowned photographers from around the globe concludes on Saturday.