I’m not sure if you’ve figured it out yet, but this planet is insane.
A couple years ago, when I still lived in New York, I met a Spanish photojournalist at a showing of work of other photojournalists in Tribeca. His name was Ricardo Garcia, and, maybe it was because we shared the Spanish language, we shared a drink or two and he gave me some advice on the hustle of making it as a freelancer. To be an aspiring photographer (or anything for that matter) in NYC is a maddening and humbling experience and while I was frustrated with my inability to make any serious inroads in this craft, Ricardo asked me how old I was, laughed, and assured me I was on the right track and just to focus on making killer photos. He had just come back from Afghanistan by way of Libya and I asked him where he was going next. Ricardo shrugged and said “Syria?”
Fast forward to today, I’m scrolling through my news feed, I see this article about a pair of Spanish journalists kidnapped last year in Syria. Ricardo, of course, is one of them. I had no idea he was kidnapped, but I’m glad the news of his kidnapping could be bundled with the news of his release. Happy endings are far and few in between in Syria and there are still dozens of foreign correspondents missing in that civil war.
Being kidnapped for 6 months put his life on pause and now that Ricardo is back home, his friends have started a campaign to help him recover and get back on his feet and finish a book of work from his time in Libya. Freelancing ain’t free and most of the images we get from conflicts are coming from freelancers who buy their own Kevlar and head to places everyone else is trying to get out of. They risk everything to tell stories they know need telling.
Regardless of whether you help out, share this, or do nothing with it, thanks for getting to the bottom of this little anecdote. That casual conversation with Ricardo left a reassuring mark on me, and I’m just relieved a cool Catalan is still out there making photographs.