For the past few weeks Jehad Nga a freelance New York Times photojournalist, trainer whore ;-) and a deeply interesting and knowledgeable man has been hanging out with us here in Tokyo.
He has the distinction of having the singularly most misunderstood name of anyone I have ever met.
He must have been asked about it a million times, so as the first point of this post I will clear up for my readers (now numbering in the 10’s if google analytics is to be believed :-) the definition of:-
1: a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline
2: a crusade for a principle or belief
See, not what you thought.
I was introduced to him by my good friend and fellow photographer Jim O’Connell and had been given a little heads up about him and his work in Somalia and Iraq (amongst other fun vacation spots).
Even at our first meeting I was impressed by his down to earthiness (is that a real word?) and sense of humor, he was genuinely a damn nice guy.
I know I sound surprised but, I’ve met several less accomplished and less talented photographers who were only too happy to blow their own trumpets to the point of tedium.
Jehad is definitely not that guy.
He is however a fantastic photographer with a unique vision and a funny, funny man whose knowledge of the situations in the places he photographs shames me with my ignorance.
I’d seen his web site after our first meeting but for some reason it didn’t occur to me to google him until tonight, when I did I came across lots more of his work and this great video of him being interviewed about his work in Somalia (careful its an hour long but worth every minute)
Anyway he was kind enough to let me take the portrait of him that heads this post and in which I make him look a lot darker and scarier than he really is (sb28 in a 10cm snoot camera right)……but I wanted something dramatic, its not often you get to photograph a guy who can talk knowledgeably about why snipers body armour is different from regular soldiers’ and then laugh a little too knowingly at a viagra gag in the next breath ;-)
Do yourself a favor and check out his amazing work.
Oh and Jehad if you are reading this, all those nice things I said about you above, all sycophantic bullshit, I didn’t mean a word of it. I will grudgingly admit to it being a pleasure to meet you tho ;-)