Behind the Lens
Taking pictures of birds isn’t your usual line of work.
After so much time covering war, I remember some of my friends in Syria and Libya said to me, “You’re out there covering birds?” I’ve spent a long time photographing people doing horrible things to each other, but seeing hundreds of birds suffering was a very challenging project. It made me realize there are other types of conflicts that need to be covered.
How did people justify killing them?
In Cyprus, when I listened to activists argue with local people, the Cypriots would say that the birds are delicious. One man told me, “Imagine the best thing your mother made for you as a kid, then multiply it by a thousand. That’s how delicious they are.”
Did you eat any of the birds?
I did. As I learned from war photography, you sometimes need to hang around with people who do things you don’t agree with to photograph things you want to show. After spending an entire day with a family in Egypt that hunted songbirds, they invited me to eat with them. I probably ate three or four birds. It wasn’t for me.