What is Trauma? Is psychological pain caused by social suffering the same as depression? In this case; what is sick, the context or the person? Can western-developed concepts and tools used to explain and measuring depression, make distinction between social misery and clinical depression?
We try to describe our psychological experience in terms that we hope can be understood and accepted and in the West, we started to talk and explain our feelings using the concept of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but, is it right or even fair to apply this concept upon those living in places of the world where people endure ongoing trauma? A civilian who have his house demolished and family killed by an occupying army; a woman from a favela who have her body as the only way to come out off poverty; a father who sees his daughter banally assassinated despite all the effort he has done working to protect and support his family, or a boy, who have been recruited by criminal gangs and will spend his life having a relationship with prison like revolving door.
For Dr. Samah Jabr, from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, clinical definitions of post-traumatic stress disorder do not apply to the experiences of those living ongoing trauma. “PTSD better describes the experiences of an American soldier who goes to Iraq to bomb and go back to the safety of the United States. He’s having nightmares and fears related to the battlefield and his fears are imaginary. Whereas for a Palestinian in Gaza whose home was bombarded, the threat of having another bombardment is a very real one. It’s not imaginary – There is no ‘post’ because the trauma is repetitive and ongoing and continuous. I think we need to be authentic about our experiences and not to try to impose on ourselves experiences that are not ours.”
ABOUT ANDRE’ LIOHN
“I was not born to be a photographer. The realities and expectations for those born in the time and place where I come from were not made of dreams. Those with whom I shared my childhood were born to be criminals, prostitutes, drug addicts or dead in early age.
Photography appeared in my life for the first time when was 6 and my parents, maybe because of their catholic believes or maybe by some form of love, decided to marry. In that small ceremony, one of my mother’s friend allowed me to take a few pictures with her pocket Kodak Instamatic. I still remember how hard they had to work before they could convince me to give the camera back. In that moment I had discovered something special and unique. I had discovered something that could be used to show the world as I saw it to be.
I’m looking for a photography that brings me questions rather than offer answers. Sentenced by my personal traumas but inspired by the possibilities I see in them, I use my own inquietude as an essential element in my search for a personal visual expression.
My motivation in photojournalism is my honest believe that visual documentation of life is a decisive factor in the way we understand the world around us.”.
André work as photographer and documentary producer and director. His photos have been published by Der Spigel Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Guardian, El Pais, Le Point, Time, STATUS, Die Welt, Stern, A Magasinet, Estado de Sao Paulo, Folha de Sao Paulo.
His videos are broadcast on BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera english, RAI, NRK, ITV, SBT, Der Spiegel TV, RTL, France 24, etc.
In Libya, Andre Liohn cooperated with the ICRC documenting the work of doctors working in front lines of wars. In 2012 the ICRC received the 16th Annual Webby Awards for the front-line footage shot by André Liohn.
André Liohn is the creator of “ADIL – Almost Dawn in Libya project: Photojournalism as a possible Bridge for Reconciliation”, with the photographers Lynsey Addario, Eric Bouvet, Bryan Denton, Christopher Morris, Jehad Nga, Finbarr O’Reilly, Paolo Pellegrin and Prospekt Photographers agency.
On April 25th 2012 André is awarded with the Robert Capa Gold Medal, for his series of images taken in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata.