Gaza Photojournalist Captures War Like it was His Home... Because it is.

(All photos from Time by Wissam Nassar)

Wissam Nassar is not your average 32-year-old Gaza photojournalist. He was born there. This was always his home. That makes his photographs all the more powerful as he captures the humanity and the civility in an uncivilized world. How else can you see past the rubble and the destruction, unless you know what was there before?

Time magazine did a profile on Nassar with text by Paul Moakley and with reporting and translation by Rami Nazzal/Ramallah:

"My family and I are refugees," Nassar tells TIME, as he recalls growing up in Gaza as one of eight children from what he calls a very "working class family." Nassar was first inspired to begin documenting Gaza's most turbulent times while in college. He began his professional career covering the past three Israeli-Hamas wars in 2008, 2012 and 2014. Nassar's photographs show his homeland mired in a slow-motion recovery from the weekslong conflict that started July 8, 2014, and formally ended with an Aug. 26 ceasefire that has largely held since. Even so, daily existence is like life during wartime: This summer, Gazans have electricity only two to four hours a day, their power supply caught between rival governments in Israel, Egypt and the West Bank. In this surreal landscape, Nassar finds familial scenes; a young father bathing his kids, children playing, families sharing a meal. "I focus on how the people want to live normal lives," he says, "spending time at parks, beaches and coffee shops despite the rubble scattered everywhere."

(Young men practice parkour, June 2015)

( A man wears a flag through a market, July 2015.)

Nassar's photos show people that seem unfazed by the crumbling world around them. They're' people who can survive anything. "I wanted to illustrate the resilience of the people of Gaza," he says, "as they rigorously tried to continue their lives after such a devastating war. Many people did not wait for their homes to be repaired or rebuilt, and instead returned to their dilapidated homes, setting up tents on the rubble of their completely destroyed houses fearing that they might be uprooted from their own birthplace." He explains that most people in Gaza, like anywhere else in the world, want to enjoy the finer things in life. "People abroad think that Gaza is inhabitable," he explains, "and that the people of Gaza are desperate. However, Gaza is a very beautiful place with hotels, coffee shops and resorts overlooking the beach."

(Eman Darabi, 32, cooks for her family during a power outage in Beit Lahia, September 2015.)

(Residents gather at Gaza City's "Unknown Soldier" square to photograph lion cubs a local man kept as pets, May 2015.)

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(Ahmad Atawna, 10, amidst the rubble of his family's home during a power outage, July 2015.)

(Sara Abushawish, 9, at her family's corrugated iron sheet house in the Zeitoun area, August 2017.)

Nassar does something that only the really talented can do. He brings perspective to his work. When we hear news about war and strife in Gaza it seems so far away. Wissam Nassar humanizes that strife and brings the harsh realities of conflict to life, while still retaining hope. These people may be down, but they're most certainly not out.

Follow Wissam Nassar on INSTAGRAM @WISSAMGAZA.

Source: TIME