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Laurent Van der Stockt's Our Fellow Man on View at Maison Européenne de la Photographie
Bosnia, 1993 © Laurent Van der Stockt / Gamma.

PARIS.- Our Fellow Man consists of several dozen photographs selected from amongst thousands by Laurent Van der Stockt destined for the press, without regard for chronology or location. They were taken during three wars whose primary victims have been civilians, wars referred to as “unconventional”: First those from Iraq, from 2003 to 2005; then those taken in Chechnya from 1995 to 1999; and last, in the small, vaulted “chapel” in the dark, those from Bosnia in 1993.

“They give their all”: The American armed forces entered Iraq in March 2003. These photographs were taken during several different trips, from crossing the Kuwait border to the outcome of the Chechnyan operation known as “Phanton Fury.”

“The resistance”: Chechnya was under attack by the Russian army between November 1994 and August 1996, and was attacked again as of October 1999. These photographs were taken during various trips between January 1995 and December 1999.

“The enclave”: Bosnia was at war in April 1992. The city of Mostar was attacked, as of May 1993, on two fronts, Serbian on one side and Croatian on the other. The Muslim Bosnian population, from the eastern part of Mostar, an area of several square kilometers, was besieged. These photographs were taken between September and November 1993.

Laurent Van der Stockt was born in Belgium in 1964. After gaining clandestine access to Romania, he exposed the living conditions there under the Ceausescu regime; he returned there after his fall, shortly before joining the Gamma agency in 1990.

He photographs all types of conflicts: From the ex-Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, from Chechnya to the Gulf War, passing by Africa and the Middle East, he covers the news for international newspapers.

He has been both imprisoned and seriously injured on numerous occasions. The first time occurred in 1991, in Vukovar, when his left arm was hit during shelling; he was hit again in Ramallah in 2001; one of his knees was hit by an Israeli snipers; and in 2005, his arm was seriously damaged again in Fallouja. In Sierra Leone, he lost his friend Miguel Gil Moreno, a comrade from Chechnya, who had repeatedly told him, “You are crazy.... I follow you only because I know you have two kids...”

A photographer of a humanity out of whack, his work goes far beyond the simple term of “war photographer”: he has also born witness to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina; made portraits of youth in the Bastian suburbs for the Fond National d’Art Contemporain; and documented the political confusion following the departure of Aristide from Haiti. He has been awarded several prizes for his work, including the Award of Excellence — Journalism Prize from the Columbia University in 1991, the Paris Match Prize in 1996, the Bayeux Prize for war correspondents in 1995 and the Festival Prize for the Scoop d’Angers, which he won four times between 1991 and 1996. His work has been presented in many expositions, including Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan (1994 — Les enfants de Kaboul), and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (1996 — Grozny). He is currently a staff photographer for the American magazine Newsweek.

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