Mini Interview with: Photographer Patrick Baz
French-Lebanese photographer Patrick Baz was born in Beirut in 1963.
He was twelve when the civil war broke out in Lebanon in 1975. Living not far from the line of demarcation separating the Christian and Muslim zones, Baz was stimulated by what was going on around him to take up photography at an early age. Lebanon became his training ground.
Between 1980 and 1988, he worked as a freelance journalist. In 1989, Agence France-Presse (AFP) gave him the opportunity of covering the First Intifada in Gaza and the West Bank. He also covered the First Gulf War in 1990, and later conflicts in Kurdistan, Somalia, and Sarajevo.
Baz became Middle East photo manager for AFP in 1996, but continued to cover conflict zones, serving as AFP bureau chief in Baghdad from 2002 to 2003. He has won three POYi awards, and in 2009 published Don’t Take My Picture, Iraqis Don’t Cry, a photo book focusing on children affected by the war.
After a quick conversation with the photographer, we had his say on Five of our quick questions:
1- What’s the only thing you’d rather see with your eye and not through your lens?
“It is very difficult to answer since my eye and my lens are one. I see “images” all the time. My dream is to have a camera integrated into my visual system. But I guess I won’t live long enough to experience that technology.”
2- The picture you’d never agree to take?
“It is not about the picture I would never agree to take. The moment my visual memory and my eyes recorded the event why wouldn’t my camera do it. It is more about the picture I would never agree to publish at a specific time.”
3- As a child, what did you imagine you’d be when you grow up?
“A pilot. ”
4- Who’s your favorite photographer/or picture and why?
“I don’t have a favorite but many. It goes from artists to photojournalists. Also, the more I get to know the photographer the more it helps me understand and like his/her work.
I will not name foreigners but a few Lebanese photographers from different fields because I love what they do and they deserve to be listed here:
Belgium-Lebanese artist/photographer Thierry Van Biesen with whom I hope we’ll manage to do a project in common one day.
Commercial photographer Elie Bekhazi, the best technician I have ever encountered.
Dalia Kamissy, her work gave a real kick to documentary photography in Lebanon.
Lara Zankoul, one of the leading photographer/artist of this new generation who keeps surprising me with her work. ”
5- In your opinion, what’s the worst thing that could become of photography?
“The day it becomes a fossil. ”