Photojournalism Hub in Conversation with Mohamed Gabobe

On the 17th October, Cinzia D’Ambrosi and Safeena Chaudhry from the Photojournalism Hub were in conversation with Mohamed Gabobe, who is a Somali-American investigative journalist based in Mogadishu, Somalia with a passion for photography.

Mohamed has spent a number of years on the ground in Somalia covering stories ranging from investigative stories, human interest stories and breaking news events. His work has been featured on an array of international media outlets. 

During our conversation, Mohamed shared his experiences on his investigative work in Somalia, talking about the level of personal risks that as a journalist he needs to take in order to expose wrongdoings and corruptions in the country. His most recent investigative report on the massive levels of deforestation in Somalia linked to the lucrative demand for charcoal, most recently published by The Guardian, was discussed during the interview with a focus on how to work on investigative stories in Somalia. Further discussing his prior investigative work bringing to light evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by African Union peacekeepers in Somalia. Some of this work can be read on the
Byline Times newspaper. Mohamed has reported countless more similar stories throughout the years that pertain to Somalia and more recently he is using more and more his camera to accompany his pieces.

Photojournalism Hub has invited Mohamed to be a guest Investigative reporter and photojournalist in Residence.  

Mohamed Gabobe
Investigative Journalist and Photojournalist

Consider becoming a member of the Photojournalism Hub and receive the benefits of free access to events, Photojournalism Hub resources, editorial content, portfolio reviews and annual photography exhibition, and lots more! whilst supporting our work advocating, advancing social justice and human rights through promoting and engaging the public and stakeholders to committed, courageous independent photojournalism, and journalism. If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. Support the Photojournalism Hub. If you can, please consider supporting us with a regular amount each month. Thank you.  JOIN US HERE

Photojournalism Hub in Conversation with Ryan Thomas

Som Prabh from the Photojournalism Hub was in conversation with award winning photojournalist Ryan Thomas on his photobook ‘Everything Will Kill You, So Choose Something Proactive’. The photobook is a collection of images shot from 2018 to 2022, mostly shot in Britain, with additional photographs taken in America and France. The work focuses on sublime, chaotic, and even peaceful (albeit disruptive) elements and has become an exploratory research into the similarities that bind rapidly fluid groups of people and the unpredictable energy that ensues. Ryan is a 23-year-old photojournalist currently based in Bristol, UK. He has an MA in Photojournalism from the University of Wales Trinity St. David’s Swansea. Ryan grew up in rural Wisconsin but have deep roots embedded in west Wales, the Land of my Fathers. Ryan covers a range of documentary subjects and has worked with a number of charities and enjoys being involved with intimate and personal projects just as much as the active aspects of protests and rallies. He has had editorial commissions with Huck Magazine, WalesOnline, Daily Mom, Oxfam UK, and DeafBlind UK and has had the good grace to be shortlisted for RPS International Photography Exhibition 164 2022 and reached 3rd place at the Arizona Congressional Photo Competition 2016.

To contact Ryan directly:
Twitter: ryanthomasphoto
To order a copy of the book:

Please support the Photojournalism Hub from as little as £1 every month. Consider becoming a member of the Photojournalism Hub and receive the benefits of editorial content, free access to events, portfolio reviews and photography exhibitions, and lots more! whilst supporting our work advocating, advancing social justice and human rights through promoting, engaging the public and stakeholders to committed, courageous independent photojournalism and journalism. If there were ever a time to join us, it is now.  Thank you.  JOIN US HERE

Photojournalism Hub in Conversation with Danny Burrows

On Sunday the 7th of August, Safeena Chaudhry from the Photojournalism Hub was in conversation with multi awarded photographer and journalist Danny Burrows.

Danny was the editor in chief of the pan-European magazine Onboard until 2013, when he left to dedicate himself to his freelance photography and writing work. In 2015, Danny began a long-term project documenting the refugee crisis in Northern France, entitled ‘Indeterminate State’. The project received wide recognition with photographs published in The Guardian, The Express, Huck Magazine, and prints were exhibited at Wells Arts Contemporary Exhibition.

Since August 2018 Danny has been shooting a long-term project entitled TOGETHER (A)PART, which documents the pacifist Anabaptist Christian community of The Bruderhof that practices a unique community of goods and wealth and devotion to god in 23 cloistered communities around the world. TOGETHER (A)PART has been well received both inside and beyond the photographic community, with a long form photo essay published in the Sunday Times Magazine in August 2019; an image was selected for the 2018 YICCA Contemporary Arts Exhibition, in Palermo, where it won a silver medal; A photograph was selected for the KLP International Portrait Prize and exhibited world wide; The project received a Coups de Coeur de L’ANI at the 2019 Visa Pour L’Image and was a finalist at the 2019 Prix Regnier Award in Paris.

Danny is currently seeking support to realise a book of the project TOGETHER (A)PART, which with unprecedented access, he is sharing touching photographs that documents the lives of the Bruderhof communities. Having the book published would offer inspiration for alternative ways of living in our world of perpetual war, hyper-consumerism and mass consumption as well as finding a more valued connection with each other as well as very valued historical testimony of this very reserved religious community.

If you would like to support this extraordinary unique document that describes the realms of ‘another life’ – their rejection of personal property, wealth and technologies, a commitment to god and non-violence – then please share this extraordinary story, and help to make this book a reality HERE

Kickstarter link:

To contact Danny Burrows directly:

Consider becoming a member of the Photojournalism Hub and receive the benefits of free access to events, Photojournalism Hub resources, editorial content, portfolio reviews and photography exhibitions, and lots more! whilst supporting our work advocating, advancing social justice and human rights through promoting, engaging the public and stakeholders to committed, courageous independent photojournalism, and journalism. If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. Support the Photojournalism Hub from as little as £1 every month. If you can, please consider supporting us with a regular amount each month. Thank you.  JOIN US HERE

Stories, Reporting Mag and Photography Course

©Cinzia D’Ambrosi

Learn to work as a photographer, produce a portfolio and have your work published.

A photography course, visual narrative and portfolio development programme free for youth who have an interest in telling stories through photographs and developing skills and a media portfolio through practical photography assignments, publishing own work, receiving mentorships which will support further education and/or career development in the media and arts industry.

This 6 months programme will include learning photography and developing photo stories through assignments and personal projects including leading to the creation of a strong portfolio of work, key for pursuing a career in media and/or entry to further education. Furthermore, participants will also receive 1:1 mentorship and portfolio reviews, as well as hands-on learning by industry professionals and exciting gallery and photography based visits.

During the programme, you will produce photo magazines Youth Reporting Mag to be published online and distributed in print form, and at the end of the programme your work will be showcased at a public Photography Exhibition.

Photography course starting on the 17th September 2022 at the Bishop Creighton House.

What you will gain

Our photography and storytelling programme is designed to give participants a space to learn about documentary photography and photojournalism and express who you are and what you care about, further develop reporting skills, writings, photo editing, photo book designing, video and audio reporting.

The programme is a great opportunity to gain practical experience of following an assignment and/or develop your own photography project, receive peer support and develop connections with like minded people.

Furthermore, you will gain a portfolio of visual work which is a key for entering further education in the media and arts industry and/or for gaining work opportunities.

Our programme allows participants to express their views, gain confidence and form meaningful relationships with fellow participants as well as be equipped with empowering tools to enter the media industry.

Who can apply

This is suitable for youths up to 32 years old, living in Hammersmith and Fulham with an interest in photography, and the creative arts. No previous experience is required. This programme is completely free and funded by Hammersmith and Fulham and the National Lottery.

How to apply

You can apply by registering on this Link and we will be in touch with you to discuss the programme. If you would like to learn more about the programme, you are welcome to email us :

The project is kindly supported by the National Lottery, Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Sobus and NHS Trust West London.

‘Refugees are welcome here’

by Cinzia D’Ambrosi and Safeena Chaudhry

Hundreds protest outside Home Office against Rwanda deportation plan and they shout ‘Refugees are welcome here’. This is the message voiced by demonstrators opposing the government policies which sees deportation of some refugees to Rwanda.

©Safeena Chaudhry

The government claims the policy, belonging to the Nationality and Borders Act, of removing migrants who arrive in the UK illegally will deter people from making dangerous channel crossings, however many including bishops of England have condemned the move as being uncompassionate and intricately divisive and racist.

Among the huge numbers of protesters, many MPs voiced their anger at the policy, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who spoke out: “It is an utter disgrace that the British government and other European governments are proposing to outsource refugee processing as Australia. We have to say, ‘Absolutely no!”

Former Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn outrage and concern of the new policy. ©Cinzia D’Ambrosi
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP was among the speakers in support to refugees not being deported to Rwanda. ©Cinzia D’Ambrosi

©Safeena Chaudhry

©Safeena Chaudhry

©Cinzia D’Ambrosi ©Cinzia D’Ambrosi

©Safeena Chaudhry

Campaign groups such as Care4Calais , activists from various campaign groups gave speeches and chanted: “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here”.

©Cinzia D’Ambrosi

The effort of these groups, PCS Union and Stand Up to Racism organisations, and all those that have opposed the policy, have mounted a forceful legal challenge to stop the first scheduled flight to Rwanda as part of the offshore detention plan. Solidarity is uniting people as more protests are organised to challenge the government plans.

Photography : Cinzia D’Ambrosi and Safeena Chaudhry

Text & photo editor : Cinzia D’Ambrosi | Photojournalism Hub

Consider becoming a member of the Photojournalism Hub and receive the benefits of free access to events, PJHub resources, editorial content, annual portfolio reviews and photography exhibitions, and lots more! whilst supporting our work advocating, advancing social justice and human rights through engaging the public to independent photojournalism and documentary photography.  How to join HERE


08th June 2022 18:00-20:30
The Invention Rooms, Imperial College
Door C, 68 Wood Lane
W12 7TA

To join us HERE

Photojournalism Hub presents three photographers who have covered in depth stories of the external borders of Europe, the Canaries, Afghanistan and Myanmar exposing the extreme and dire conditions that force people to flee their countries and face unimaginable dangers along the migration routes into Europe.

With great courage and determination, the invited photographers will present photography from countries where escaping is a danger but remaining is equally a threat to life. With unparalleled access, the guest photographers present stories of exploitation, extreme poverty, conflict within countries, borders where reporting is challenging, dangerous and even illegal.

Francesco Berlingerio was born in Brindisi, Italy, in 1980. Upon his graduation in Sociology, he progressed his professional career in the UK, in the field of child protection, and since then, he has been working for a significant number of Local Authorities. He became interested in photography, when he turned 23, he got carried away, and, to build his knowledge, he immersed himself in the study of analogue photography, darkroom film development. His photography projects, are focused on the unrelenting inequality of human conditions. Upon graduation at the University of Lecce, he undertook a statistic research about the street children phenomenon, in Kenya and Colombia, where he also worked and cooperated with NGOs.

His work is mainly undertaken in monochrome, with the purpose of investigating and documenting social issues, such as: identity and borders, the anthropic relationship between people and environments, as well as, their life conditions. During the earliest stage of his career as photojournalist, he worked in partnership with press photo agencies based in Italy and Italian newspapers and magazines, such as: il Manifesto, Diario, Il Messagero. In 2021, Francesco was a Nominee at Vienna International Photo Award, Category: Black and White for the project resilience.

Francesco is currently based in London, and his work is committed to long term projects, work on assignment.

Maria Tomas-Rodriguez is a Spanish born photographer living in UK for the last 22 years. Her photography work has always been black and white social – documentary photography, although recently, with the pandemic and domestic lockdown, she started exploring colour photography. Maria combines her current university academic job with her interest in photography and travelling for documenting social matters and people’s cultures & traditions. She collaborates on regular basis with Baolar, a charity based in Senegal as an active member and photographer.

Her major photography work concerns the modern-slavery conditions of children and the harsh working conditions of fishermen, both works in Senegal. She also has documented the Afar salt miners work in Ethiopia just a few months before the war started in the Eritrean border. Her main interest is to contribute to raise awareness on injustices and social inequalities. Some of her work has been published in UK online magazines and Spanish local newspapers.

In parallel to her interest in documentary photography, she is very keen on water sports and has developed a still ongoing portfolio on wind and water sports, attending major championships and documenting the training of professionals of these sports.

Maria’s work has been recognized at several international photography awards and exhibited in the last years, both individual and group exhibitions.

Niccolò Barca is a self-taught freelance photographer, journalist and musician from Rome. After collaborating as a writer with many Italian and American media outlets, the arrival of Covid pushed him outdoors to embrace and develop his life-long passion for photography.

Interested in documenting social and humanitarian issues, Niccolò moved to Thailand in order to follow the exploitation of Myanmar migrants in the Thai fishing industry. From there, he was also smuggled into Myanmar, currently devastated by a civil war, to photograph those fleeing from the military and its attacks on the civilian population. When he’s not taking pictures, Niccolò is one half of Gbresci, a music duo based in Rome.

To join us: HERE

Injustices & Inequalities: Covid-19 – Edition 12

Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities and individuals who are poor, marginalised, discriminated; has brought to light the existing inequalities and injustices and in some cases how the impact has generated wider repercussions.

Through an Open Call, began at the heights of the global pandemic in 2020, Photojournalism Hub has been collecting photo stories, articles and multimedia pieces on the impact of Covid-19 on the most vulnerable, including the poor, BAME communities, refugees, the elderly, women, the stateless, and asylum seekers.

The submitted stories have been published on the Photojournalism Hub website providing an independent visual investigation on governments missed opportunities and on the scale of systemic failings which have caused sufferings and losses.

We would like to present this independent visual investigation in a series of public events, including a photography exhibition to present a body of evidential work that would leverage and provide a platform for a public discourse to enable recommendations and key actions, for improved, cohesive and inclusive protection of the most marginalised, discriminated and disadvantaged and would provide accountable points in order to advance to social justice for all.


Photography by Sebastian Ambrossio

This Photographic-Documentary Report came from a personal concern to show, narrate and visually document through photographs the work of health professionals, of the essential workers who work in the hospital in Mercedes, and those connected to the hospital who work to combat the pandemic. The project explores how health workers dealt with this virus, leaving everything to give the best to patients.
Blas L. Dubarry Acute General Zone Hospital, Sanitary Region X – Mercedes, Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

©Sebastian Ambrossio
©Sebastian Ambrossio

©Sebastian Ambrossio
©Sebastian Ambrossio
©Sebastian Ambrossio
©Sebastian Ambrossio

Photography and text:
Sebastian Ambrossio

Rodrigo Almas


Photography by

Krzysztof Maniocha

Photographer Krzysztof Maniocha has documented anti-lockdown protests in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland had one of the longest lockdowns and some of the most controversial restrictions in Europe.  His photographs are presenting moments of clashes between police and protesters, as well as uncovering the existing issues externalised by the imposed restrictions: religion, identity and people’s resistance.

©Krzysztof Maniocha
©Krzysztof Maniocha
©Krzysztof Maniocha
©Krzysztof Maniocha
©Krzysztof Maniocha

Krzysztof Maniocha

Photo editor: Cinzia D’Ambrosi


21st April 2022 7pm

Frontline Club
13 Norfolk Place
London W2 1QJ
To join: HERE

Presenting photographers, who will share their powerful photography, insights and experiences of documenting wars and displacement.

The consequences and legacy of wartime persecution and displacement are reflected in the work of photojournalists and documentary photographers, who have played a pivotal role in exposing, be of a testimony and witness of these ordeals. Displacement has always been hand in hand with war and conflict, as people flee for safety and security. Photographers have recorded not only the physical displacement but also have conferred through their stories and photographs the extent of emotional, psychological trauma that these experiences cause. An extent that goes over time and sometimes will never heal. In recent years up to today, as we are witnessing one of the largest exodus of people forced to leave their homes in Ukraine, the scale of population displacement by war has been an incredibly stark reality. The reverberations are immense with thousands whose lives are in limbo, experiencing the impact of trauma and loss.

We have invited a group of photographers, whose work and courage have closely documented these realities. Their accounts and photos have contributed to important documentation as well as vital historical and accountability documentation.

We are incredibly honoured to present to you all our guests photographers George Nickels, Quintina Valero, Ed Ram and Ines Gil, who will share their powerful photography, insights and experiences on war displacement.

Ed Ram is a photojournalist and reporter with an interest in conflict, security, and climate change. He has been based in East Africa for for nearly three years, reporting from countries including Kenya, Mozambique, DRC, Sudan, Somaliland and Uganda. Ed works on personal photography projects and for European and US news organisations including newspapers, photo agencies and broadcasters. Most recently, he has been covering the conflict in Ukraine for the Guardian and PBS Newshour. Before working freelance, Ed spent 8 years working as a filmmaker, journalist and senior producer for BBC News.

George Nickels is a freelance photojournalist and has been working in South East Asia and Europe since 2011. The primary focus of his work is covering social conflict and humanitarian issues. Currently based in the United Kingdom, he is a member of The Frontline Freelance Register. Born in Oxfordshire, England in 1982, he is a self-taught photographer, with work published in leading newspapers, magazines and media outlets worldwide.

Ines Gil is a French freelance journalist currently based in Lebanon, after having worked in Israel and the Palestinian territories for two years (Feb. 2018 to Apr. 2020). In August 2017, she travelled to Mosul to cover the developments in Iraq in the aftermath of the war against the so-called Islamic State. More recently, she covered the Beirut port explosion (August 2020) and the war over Nagorno-Karabakh (October 2020). She covered the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban took power (November-December 2021). She has covered the war in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion. Writer and passionate about photography, she works on several media supports. 

Quintina Valero is a Spanish freelance press and documentary photographer. Quintina moved to London in 2001 where she studied photojournalism at the University of the Arts and has since worked for London newspapers as The Archant Group, South London Press, Ham & High, Hackney Gazette, and as a stringer at Getty Images, and lately for the night digital editions of the Telegraph Media Group. Her long-term projects focus on documenting the lives of people affected by conflict, violence and poverty pursuing stories about human rights and social issues. Her work about migration, sex trafficking and the impact of Chernobyl’s nuclear accident have received international awards and featured in The Guardian, Sunday Times, Thomson Reuter Foundation, Stern Magazine, Internationale, BBC, and El País among others. She has exhibited in the UK, Spain, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, Peru, Colombia and Brazil. She is passionate about cultural exchange collaborating often with international artists to produce art and educational projects. In June 2021, The History Press published her book “London’s Record Shops” in collaboration with writer Garth Cartwright.

Valentina Sinis is a documentary photographer and the moderator of the event. She is based in China and the Middle East. Valentina’s projects gravitate toward the quirky and unusual, and portray offbeat realities and people on the margins, they show a deep bond with he subjects. Her photos are a thorough but delicate insight into idiosyncrasies, hidden meanings, and all those little gestures that are either taken for granted or sensationalized — but rarely investigated. Fluent in Chinese , she started by working for European Pressphoto Agency, EPA, in China. Her pictures have been published in major newspapers and magazines worldwide; TIME, The Guardian, La Repubblica, among others. Her works have been exhibited in Europe and China. Among the recognitions and awards, Valentina was selected as one of the 6X6 Europe Talents, by World Press Photo, 2019. The following year, Valentina was the winner of Female in Focus 2020 by British Journal of Photography and she was recognised with the Award of Excellence for Issue Reporting Picture Story in POY 2021.

This event is co-organised with Frontline Club and hosted at Frontline Club in Paddington.

Photojournalism Nights 20th edition

Photojournalism Hub twentieth edition of the Photojournalism Nights presents a superb line-up of guest photographers: Carol Allen StoreyChristopher Bethell Kevin Percival 

Hotel Elephant
1-5 Spare Street

SE17 3EP

17th February 2022 06:30 pm till late

To learn more and to join us follow this link here.

Elizabeth provides some physical comfort to her sonAmon by gently bathing him in the shade of banana trees.His body withered from the AIDS virus. Kamughobe , Uganda Carol Allen Storey
©Chris Bethell

Grace outside her home on Wornington Green, the estate where she has lived since she was 28. Made as part of the Wornington Word project, which documents the story of a housing estate in the midst of regeneration, through photography and oral history. ©Kevin Percival


Katie Webb

My name’s Katie Webb. I live here in Shepherd’s Bush and I work in the field of authors’ rights. That is to say I work with authors to try to ensure that copyright, the system designed to ensure authors can make a living, works for them, to help them make a living from the use of their works. Journalism is a form of authorship – and so I’m going to think about journalists as authors in what I say this evening. I’ve done this work all over the world. My job was to create something called the International Authors Forum (, which brings together unions of writers and artists in different countries in order to represent the interests that they have in copyright – the legal right which protects their work, which saves it from being taken and used without asking, misattributed, or not attributed to its author (or enables the author to remain anonymous) and stops them from being exploited, so that somebody else makes money from their work when they aren’t given the opportunity to. It gives them a legal and financial framework for their work, so they can make sure that their work, in any medium, be that art, photographs, literature, music, reaches an audience and still enables them to make a living. To get by.

Through the International Authors Forum, we try to connect authors in the world, as well as being a platform for authors. Not all authors can be connected easily with each other, or with their audience, albeit that the tools of communication are the tools of their trade.
In an age where so much information, in particular in the form of words and pictures, gets to us on the internet, we tend not to pay for it as such. We can type in anything into a search engine and get lots of words and pictures for free. For example, these are the pictures I got when I typed ‘Iraq’ into the google image search two days ago.

Who took these pictures? The connection between the author and their work – the work and its origin – is easily broken.

Mouayad, an Iraqi photographer, wants to tell a different story about his home, Iraq, through his photographs. That is a story of a common heritage, of religious pluralism and overlapping identities, a story of history, of the earliest civilisations and languages. His photographs show three elements of Iraq today; historic Babylon; the marshes in the south of the country, home to people of the Sabean Mandean religion who still live according to ancient traditions and rituals; and the Torah houses in Baghdad, once home to the Jewish population who no longer live there.

The Processional Way in Babylon. This was most beautiful way inside of the ancient city of Babylon. 2017 ©M.Sary
The ruins of an old Baghdadi house in the Altorat (Jewish) Neighbourhood in Baghdad ©M.Sary
Marshland in southern Iraq.2017 ©M.Sary

His photographs are united by the idea that we all need a place to live, somewhere to make our home, something to believe in. These photographs tell that story, making Iraq hospitable, habitable and accessible through photographs in a way that it cannot be physically to foreign visitors or even to people for whom it is home. Like the Jewish population which has not inhabited Iraq since 1948 despite thousands of years of lineage there. Like Mouayad, who lives in Sweden in order to exercise his freedom of expression as an author, as a photographer; his human right.

The unity between the three elements represented in his photography – the marshes, the Torah houses, Babylon – are all at risk of being lost – in some senses already have been. He keeps them alive by sharing his story through photography. He has to do so at risk, in another country that is not home. Yet he still cares.

He wants people to know about his country through his photographs. Maybe if they don’t know much through the pictures alone, then he wants them to become curious.

© Vered Cohen-Barzilay

Vered, an Israeli educational entrepreneur and former journalist, has a social enterprise called Novel Rights ( which works with the idea of the power of literature to address human rights issues. She connects the recorded decline in reading beyond that we find on our social media channels and news feeds, with a decline in empathy – our ability to understand the perspectives and feelings of others. We read so much in one sense, through our phones and numerous news sources. Vered believes that through really ‘reading’ though – engaging with novels and writing that seeks to explore the issues we are confronted with more thoughtfully, particularly those related to human rights issues – we can empathise and understand and learn how to help.

Teaching people the skills to participate qualitatively in authorship, as Cinzia is doing through the Photojournalism Hub – to become authors and critics, rather than simply the consumers of information overload – be that through photography, writing, photojournalism, attentive reading – can inspire people to more active participation in the issues that the media brings to our attention: to help others in need. It can help people to view and read what appears on their screens with a more trained eye, to distinguish between when effort and research and imagination have gone into that information, and when something is what might be regarded as ‘fake news’, or just another photograph gone viral, taken out of context – disconnected from its author and their story. These are the qualities, the skills, the work, that copyright is designed to reward. Novel means new. Novel Rights seeks to find new ways to present those qualities in Novels-writing – which generate empathy rather than mere ‘compassion fatigue’ to its readers – in novel ways, using forms (stories on Instagram for example) and business models (social enterprise, which rewards creators by giving them an income from their work and enables them to keep on creating) that fit our technology dominant age, to bring understanding of the lives of others’ whose lives are different from our own.

Copyright and Human Rights
In building the International Authors Forum, it was easy to work in countries where copyright is already set up. Where we have the principle that you can write your ideas down or use them to create photographs and document things – say anything you like – and then, provided that somebody is willing to buy it, you can sell it, claim it as yours, be named as the author, share it with an audience. Make ends meet. Make a living. Although that position is increasingly threatened by the way content is shared so easily and globally online: think how piracy has and models like napster affected music. However, in order to be truly globally inclusive, we needed to learn about parts of the world where we can’t take copyright for granted. Copyright has its basis in human rights. It’s recognised in Article 27(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says that: “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.” ‘Moral’, we can take to mean the ability for the author to have a say over the way the work is used, in what context, and what is done to it, in what form it appears, whether it’s changed in the editorial process, and whether the author is happy with those changes. It is the author’s moral right to be named, or not to be named. ‘Material’ interests we can think about as being paid. The currency we all need to be able to buy food, shelter, for ourselves, for our families, to establish a home, to get by.

Another human right is freedom of expression – a pretty important one for the work of artists, of writers, of journalists. It affects their work directly. It affects us all directly. It is what we can use to speak to each other. To tell each other about our lives. To learn about each other. To help understand different situations. So in trying to understand the kind of obstacles that authors face in the Middle East and North Africa Region, I connected with some of them. And it’s their work that I have been able to share with you today, even though, to share it with each other, they have to do so in a country that is not their home, in secret, at risk, anonymised. Without freedom of expression in the first place there is not much to base a copyright system upon, from which to build an industry through which we can share, celebrate and reward authors and what they do for us, the information they bring to us through journalism, through writing, through pictures. Copyright is about rewarding authors for their work and giving them a basis to negotiate the terms on which they grant access to it, as independent creators, allowing them to tell their stories. Giving them the tools to make a living, to make money, where money in our society is so necessary to keep our heads above water, albeit not the only thing we need to survive.

Of course what the International Authors Forum also aims to bring to authors, in addition to the opportunity for an income, is a community. Building communities and quality relationships between people is valuable – not just through our phones, not just through the endless words and pictures on them, by uploading things to social media, but by doing the work it takes to really get to know each other and our fellow human beings and our communities. The Photojournalism Hub, by building these skills, can empower more people to tell more stories, to listen to more stories, and to do them both well.

Katie Webb
International Co-director of FUIS, the Writers’ Union of Italy