Sergey Ponomarev (Russia)
Syria. War and Peace.
After three years of war Syrian people have got used to live in a war environment. The sounds of explosions and artillery bombardments have become as usual for the citizens of Damascus as the sounds of the city's daily traffic jams. Car owners have switched off their car alarms so that they'll stop disturbing the neighbourhoods where they live. The pigeons at Marzhi Square still take flight at the sound of explosions, but people have become used to the sounds of war.
The old town in Damascus is impressive with a beauty and serenity? that has survived centuries of wars. The air, filled with the aromas of spices, makes you feel drunk. But that’s only in the old city. A suburb of the city called Ghouta, which in Arabic means “gardens,” is a place where many poor and uneducated Syrians used to live, and it has now become a stronghold for the uprising and fighters of the Free Syrian Army. It can be a deadly mistake to go there from the old town. In some places, just crossing a highway can suddenly land you in rebel-controlled territory. But the city still lives its own life with open shops, hookah clubs, busy streets and checkpoints every two hundred meters. People are still smiling but everyone knows that they can be killed at any time and their beloved mysterious and ancient city can be destroyed.
Sergey Ponomarev, photojournalist, freelance photographer at The New York Times, based in Moscow. Assignments for current New York Times stories from Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Europe.
Photojournalist at Associated Press December 2003 - November 2012 (9 years). I have worked eight years as a photographer in the Moscow Bureau of Associated Press. Was one of 5 photographers plus chief-photographer who worked on the vast territory of the ex-Soviet Union. In the case of breaking news my objectives were getting to the scene as soon as possible, shooting and transmitting pictures by myself, and organizing and editing the work of local stringers contributing to AP. Had some combat and hostile environment experience.
2004, I covered the Beslan school siege in North Ossetia where 300 kids were killed. 2006 - Israel-Hezbollah war on Lebanese side, and also deployment of UN peacekeepers following the UN Resolution No 1701. 2011 - the Arab spring in Egypt, Bahrain and Libya. Most of the time was spent in Libya, where I was following rebels till the fall of Tripoli and further to Bani Walid. Also had to cover many political events.
January 2000 – 2002, photographer at Kommersant, local news coverage.