Ahmed Najm: The Photographer of Experiences

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 Ahmed Najm

In a war-torn region, rare are those who build a giving life upon their throne of thorns. The people who emerge stronger through their struggles and channelize this energy to making the world a better place worthy of all the praise. Such a personality is Ahmed Najm.

As a 29 years old photojournalist who has covered the fight with ISIS and has trained more than 70 other photojournalists in Iran, Turkey, and Iraq, Najm is dedicated to bringing unheard stories to the common mass. He is currently the managing director of Metrography Agency and the Vice President of Vim Foundation. Metrography Agency also holds the title of being the first and only photo agency in Iraq.

Growing Beyond the Tragedies

Born in Kirkuk, Ahmed Najm shifted with his family twice from Iraq amidst the region's nervous tensions within the first seven years of his life. This experience of being born in the war stayed with Najm throughout his deliberations.

He faced the horror of war and ISIS when the armed forces kidnapped his brother, KamaranNajm, who has been missing ever since. KamaranNajm was a practicing photojournalist who started Metrography Agency with Sebastian Meyer. To search for his brother, Ahmed Najm turned away from his family's conservative religion and made his brother's dreams his own.

A Dream That Keeps Growing

As the head of Metrography, Ahmed now supervises a team of 70+ Iraqi journalists concerned with the job of telling the stories of the unheard. They bring out stories from the farthest of lands so that their problems as mainstream issues. He is also working with 15 women journalists to bring out the men's levels due to cultural and traditional boundaries.

Ahmed Najm is now working as a photojournalist and safety trainer and sharing his experience as a photojournalist with the aspirants of the field. His team keeps getting international recognition from reputed platforms, including The Washington Post, The Times of London, and Der Spiegel in Germany.

He will be a jury in 2021 too, Ahmed has been elected as on of the juries once again

Struggles in Photojournalism

Keeping the significant troubles aside, a phenomenon that attracted the attention of Najm was the immediate defensive nature of military personnel, police, and security forces towards journalists. He took it upon himself to train these officials to work with the journalists without assuming them to be their enemies. But this endeavor is especially struggling, as every year, more recruits come. Due to the requirement of forces, most of them are employed illiterate and armed. However, Najm works to his best capacity to brave this challenge in photojournalism.

He also talks vividly about the atrocities perpetrated by ISIS and the resentment among several social groupsin Iraqi society. Born in a war-torn region, he understands the perils of war and terrorism first-hand. His lens only translates this experience into visual suffering for the mass to witness and feel.