TOKYO-2016 Editorial / Conflict

Life and Death in 7 frames

  • Prize
    Silver in Editorial/Conflict
  • Photographer
    Tracey Shelton

ALEPPO, Syria — Their names were Issa, Ahmed and Sheik Mahmoud Qasim. They were fathers, brothers, sons; a student, a teacher and a labourer. In an instant, they were all killed by tank fire. They are not alone. The Syrian conflict has now dragged on for 5 years and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The dead represent all kinds — civilians, rebel fighters, regime soldiers and officials, aid workers, activists, journalists. Headlines that track the numbers of dead are easy to pass over when they are so frequent. Rarely do we stop to think about what those numbers represent. This photo series shows three faces behind the numbers. At first, four men laugh and joke with each other, then — in an instant — only one emerges from the cloud of smoke and debris. Perhaps the most poignant fact is that following their death, nothing changed. Everyday, new people replace the fallen in a battle that continues with what seems like no end in sight.

I have worked as a multimedia journalist in Australia, the Middle East and Asia covering conflict, politics and human rights violations since 2005. My articles, photographs and videos have been published globally, receiving 18 international awards. I reported exclusively on Gaddafi’s capture and death in Libya which sparked a UN inquiry, broke news of the Yazidi crisis in Iraq as Islamic State attacked, killed and kidnapped them and gained wide acclaim for my photography in war-torn Syria. I am currently based in Melbourne, Australia, working as a world producer and reporter for the ABC.