A Handful of Dust: a Photography Exhibition by Nish Nalbandian
Join photographer Nish Nalbandian in discussion with documentary film maker and journalist Matthew Cassel.
Award-winning photographer Nish Nalbandian spent three years documenting life and war in Northern Syria from the frontlines to the everyday lives of people struggling to survive amid the ruins. A selection of photographs from this powerful body of work were published in Nalbandian’s critically acclaimed first monograph A Whole World Blind (Daylight, 2016). In 2014, as the situation in Syria escalated and it was becoming too dangerous to stay there, Nalbandian shifted his focus to another story close by: the lives of the nearly three million Syrian refugees still living in southern Turkey. Nalbandian’s humanistic portraits of Syrians in Turkey are published in his second book: A Handful of Dust (Daylight Books, April 2018).
In the book’s introduction, Nalbandian writes: “My intent in this book was not to produce a ‘poor refugee’ story, showing sad pictures of exotic Middle Eastern people living in poverty. I do have some pictures like that. But I challenged myself to show a wide swath of the Syrian population from all walks of life. I do not claim to show a complete picture, just a broad picture of what life is like for these people in this place at this time. I also tried to leave people’s politics and specifics of the war out of it”.
About the photographer
Nish Nalbandian working in Aleppo, Syria. Photo courtesy of Richard Charles Harvey
Documentary photographer Nish Nalbandian has photographed in more than 35 countries worldwide, in a variety of situations and environments, from wars to sporting events, cities to remote deserts. His work has appeared in such diverse outlets as The Human Rights Watch World Report, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, The New Yorker, Bag News National Geographic Traveler, and New Scientist. His first monograph, A Whole World Blind:War and Life In Northern Syria (Daylight Books, 2016) received critical acclaim in such outlets as Smithsonian Magazine, The Daily Beast, Vice, American Photo, Square Mile Magazine, Lensculture and The New York Review of Books. Nalbandian’s work has been shown in the New York Photo Festival, Powerhouse Arena, and IPA Best in Show in New York, and in exhibitions around the world.He has received many honours, including: Applied Art’s 2014 ‘Best Portrait Series’ Award (Portraits of the Syrian Opposition); American Photography AP30 (Aleppo Struggles On); First Prize, IPA (International Photography Awards) Editorial/Conflict (Aleppo Struggles On); Silver Medal, ND Awards (Special – Panoramic, Panoramic Photographs in and around Aleppo); Honourable Mention, ND Awards, Special PhotojournalismStory (Aleppo Struggles On); and Lensculture’s Top 50 Emerging Talent Award for 2014. For more information, go to: http://www.nishnalbandian.com/
Matthew Cassel is an award-winning filmmaker and multimedia journalist based in the Mediterranean region. For more than a decade he has documented stories of people facing conflict and persecution in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and beyond. He works mainly as a one-person video crew, filming, producing and editing short and long-form documentary content for various publications.
Learn more here.