Publications, The New York Times Lens Blog

The New York Times Lens Blog Turning Point Series: Maja Hitij on Kevin Carter

The Face of Fear in Hebron
September 15, 2010, 12:10 pm

Maja Hitij, 26, has worked as a freelancer in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since 2008. She is a native of Slovenia. Her photos have been published in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The Washington Post and Süddeutsche Zeitung. In 2009, she was an intern for The Associated Press in Berlin and Jerusalem. Her conversation with Amanda Rivkin has been edited and condensed.

Q. How was this picture taken?

A. I went to Hebron with a friend, Ed Ou, with whom I really like to shoot. We were walking around the old city when we saw the soldiers. We were just following them and observed the situation. I tried to focus on how Palestinians react when they see solders guarding the place. This was when I saw this little girl hiding. And at the same time as these young boys — soldiers — were doing this job, I could feel that they both felt the same fear. It comes from two different angles or aspects, and is a reason for this conflict.

Q. How has this image changed the way you work?

A. I believe that news is the thing that we make from our pictures, and it can be done in the streets. Sometimes I think it isn’t so much the images that change our shot, but the situation you have to deal with to come to the picture. You learn how to come close to people, how to deal with different situations and how to move around. In the end, it is all about experiences. We learn from each picture we take.

Inspiration: Kevin Carter
Image: “Famine in Sudan“

A. This is probably one of those pictures that you see once and will never erase from your mind. It is so strong, and it lives with you like a memory. And it has guilt in it, since we are all responsible for what is happening in Africa. It is an iconic image, which shows the whole of the suffering and situation there.

Q. What do you like about this image?

A. Not sure if I can call it “like.” But I think this image is one of those pictures that changes something in everyone who sees it; it just has to change you. And when pictures make changes in us, it means our job is done. This is why we do this job and why we are photographers.

Q. How has it influenced your work?

A. It did not really change my work. But it was one of the reasons why I am a photographer.

“Turning Point” is an occasional series featuring images by young photographers. The column was conceived by the 26-year-old photographer Amanda Rivkin.

Previous Turning Point Columns:

Wednesday, Aug. 4
Amanda Rivkin, 26.
Inspired by Dorothea Lange.

Wednesday, Aug. 11
Aga Luczakowska, 29.
Inspired by Stanley Greene.

Wednesday, Aug. 18
Robert Caplin, 27.
Inspired by David Alan Harvey.

Wednesday, Aug. 25
Yana Paskova, 28.
Inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Wednesday, Sept. 1
Ayman Oghanna, 25.
Inspired by Alex Webb.

Wednesday, Sept. 8
Newsha Tavakolian, 29.
Inspired by Naser al-Din, the shah of Iran (1848-96).