Samuel Aranda: a young and risky photographer

Samuel Aranda, winner of World Press Photo of the Year 2011. Obtained from the website

Samuel Aranda, winner of World Press Photo of the Year 2011. Obtained from the website

Samuel Aranda was born in Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona, in 1979. His first job as a photojournalist he performed in free newspaper 20 minutos. After that he worked for two Spanish newspapers El Pais and El Periodico de Catalunya.

When he was 21 he travelled to the Middle East to cover the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the Spanish agency EFE, according to the biography of his official website. Then, in 2004, he joined AFP and he covering multiple conflicts and social issues in Spain, Pakistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories, Morocco, Western Sahara and China. In 2006 he worked freelance. He won the Spanish National Award of Photography from the photojournalist association ANIGP-TV for a report of African immigrants trying to reach Europe.

In 2011 he won the World Press Photo. His winning photo shows a woman holding in her arms a loved one. When he took the picture was stationed in Yemen by the New York Times. “I would have liked to do it with a Catalan newspaper and have the opportunity to publish it here,” Aranda said at a conference on “World Press Photo 12” in Barcelona.

World Press Photo of the Year 2011 by Samuel Aranda. Obtained from the website:

‘Piedad Árabe’. World Press Photo of the Year 2011 by Samuel Aranda. Obtained from the website:

The photograph of Samuel who won a World Press Photo was taken in Shana, Yemen. In this city there are many conflicts. People protest in the streets against President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has 33 years in power. In this picture Fatima al-Qaws cradles her son Zayed, who is suffering from the effects of tear gas after participating in a street demonstration. After the incident Zayed remained in a coma for two days.

Technical information Photo according to his official website:


ISO: 400

F-STOP: f/2.0


CAMERA: Nikon D700


This picture is a slight ‘contrapicado’. The photo is a medium shot. In this photo highlights the woman who is completely covered by a black garment and keeps in his arms to a person who is naked and seems to be suffering from the look on his face.

This photograph shows the suffering of the people, the man rests his head on her shoulder and her arms above her. She holds the boy’s head trying to minimize their suffering.

It is a picture with a strong connotation, the woman who is dressed entirely in black appears to represent a ‘death’ and the naked man represents the vulnerability of people and suffering. This photograph reflected the strong repression against women in Yemen. The woman is so covered that we see nothing of her body except her wrists and a small part of the nose.

According to statements made Aranda at a conference of World Press Photo in Barccelona Spanish newspapers are not investing enough money in photographers because they say there is an economic crisis, but spend money on fashion productions. Aranda also said that overseas the work of photojournalist was better valued “has some newspapers like The New York Times that when the crisis came, they were very clear that it was time to invest and do our best,” said Aranda.

Samuel Aranda is a very famous photojournalist currently a photographer but also criticized. An example of this is the photographic work done for The New York Times in which he shows the poorest part of Spain. He shows people looking for food in dumpsters, homeless families and social canteens filled.

In my opinion, Samuel Aranda is an exceptional photographer. He has been in several armed conflicts and he has tried to reflect the suffering of the people and not just the war. This photographer has been in numerous armed conflicts, he has risked his life to show the world the reality that people living in those cities. I think the Spanish newspapers should invest more money and resources into photographers as the work of a photographer is crucial to the success of a newspaper.




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