|Bringing this country to light gives me great pride. Im the first
photojournalist to show the real Libya since 1969, when Qaddafi came to
power. I photographed who these people are and how they live. Of
course, other photographers have gone there and taken pictures of the
scenery, but the Editor made it clear he didn't want to see pictures of
sand and ruins. I only used that as background for the modern Libya.
||This was the most difficult assignment Ive ever had in my life. I was
under psychological pressure every day, every minute. Mr. Qaddafis
secretary called me with the order to be at the desert headquarters in
four hours to take the Presidents photograph. But its a six-hour
drive from Tripoli. So when I didnt get there on time, they sent me to
a guest house and told me they would call the next day. I waited seven
days and seven nights in that bloody hotel, taking only a few minutes
to run downstairs for meals. To pass the time, I picked up the world
atlas I brought as a gift and read it from cover to coverthree times.
I know that patience is important for a photographer or for any
photojournalist, but this was extreme.
||I needed to hire a helicopter, so Qaddafis officials referred me to a
guy who was supposed to help me. I called this man eight or ten times
every day for 40 days. He would say, Oh, Mr. Reza, Im so sorry!
Please call me back in half an hour. But each time he put me off
again. After all that time trying to make arrangements with him, he
still never got the helicopter.