There are many benefits of being a member of a photographic society. Not only you get to meet like minded individuals, but you are also involved in various activities: photo-walks, master-classes, exhibition openings, conventions and talks. Usually those events combine social networking with practical learning, so the more you participate, the better for you.
I know some people will disagree here. I have heard many times before that photography is a lone – wolf job and that people have no time for extracurricular activities. But let me tell you this: you can be technically outstanding and know your parameters by heart but nothing opens your eyes more than hearing another photog talk about his experiences. Being able to see though another photographer’s eyes is the most powerful and rewarding experience ever, no matter your level or skill.
MIPP Malta (of which Malicia is a junior member) has a broad and varied list of events. There’s something cooking nearly every week and you can choose according to your interests and preferences. However from time to time, a different kind of activity will pop up – something that simply cannot be missed.
So if you haven’t been to Darrin Zammit Lupi`s talk about Covering the Libya crisis, you may want to give yourself a healthy kick on the patata. Because you have missed much more than just a terrific meeting with one of Malta’s best visual artists. You have skipped a truly inspiring session that made people want to grab their cameras and book a flight to the nearest front line. And you can trust me on the inspiring part. I actually had a pleasure to witness this talk twice: first time in April 2012, when Darrin organized a lecture for members of Maltese Rotary Club and now with other members of MIPP. Darrin takes extreme care of his talks, he expands them, adds new photos, tells new stories and plans everything to perfection. I can safely say that in span of one year he created a brand new, more fascinating presentation.
Let me tell you a bit more about the photographer in question. If we were to quote his official bio, we would have to say that Darrin Zammit Lupi is a staff photographer at The Times of Malta and a stringer for Reuters since 1997. He holds a Masters degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the University of the Arts, London, and has been a regular winner at the annual Malta Journalism Awards. The biggest stories he has worked on are irregular immigration across the Mediterranean, the evacuations following the Libya uprising and the Costa Concordia disaster. He also regularly travels to different parts of Africa on assignment for NGOs. Adding from my own perspective: Darrin also happens to be a person associated with highest quality on Maltese soil when it comes to photojournalism. I personally havent met one person who would not like him, or who would think his vision and skill in photography is lacking. Among fellow photographers he is regarded as esteemed colleague and a friend by many.
In 2011 when the Arab Spring had reached Libya, Malta found itself in the centre of world’s attention. It has became a hub for evacuations, a place from where humanitarian aid was dispatched to besieged town of Misurata, a save haven for defecting soldiers but also the battle ground between Gaddafi loyalists and those who opposed him. And Darrin followed each and every aspect of it with a camera. He attended countless demonstrations outside the Libyan Embassy, documented the plight of evacuees, and wounded journalists (like Guy Martin who was brought to Malta after being hit by shrapnel). He photographed political and military meetings. He also took two trips to Misurata (with Red Cross) and Benghzi and reported from there.
When advertising his talk Darrin wrote as follows: “I will talk about covering the uprising from the beginning (…) including various attempts to get into Libya, a trip to Misrata on a Red Cross aid ship at the height of the siege, and my experiences in Benghazi and Brega as the regime crumbled in Tripoli. I am not a combat photographer so I won’t be talking about that. Rather, the presentation will show what it’s like to be working on a major news story over a period of several months.” However large part of the talk was dedicated to the experiences he had in Libya itself (and in other places as Darrin also covered Albanian conflict, humanitarian crisis in Bosnia and refugees in Kosovo). Darrin spoke about what he had seen in Bosnia and how hard it was to adjust to peaceful reality at home. He recalled how his trip to Benghazi could turn fatal when Libyan rebels linked Maltese citizens to some political figures in Malta who openly supported Gaddafi. All those stories made the audience wonder what would have happen if Darrin turned freelance and decided to pursue career of a conflict photographer. One member of the audience summed it up pretty well: it was lucky for Malta that Darrin decided to avoid conflict otherwise he surely would be now a member of VII, rather than a member of Times of Malta.
Darrin’s words were illustrated by nearly one hundred images spanning though – out the year and each was described in detail. Darrin is not just a newspaper photographer. He is one of those visual journalists who have a mission. Through his art, he shows what happens to ordinary people, on the ground level, people none of us would otherwise ever hear of. I am not sure if that wasn’t the most striking aspect of the talk itself. For Darrin Zammit Lupi his work is a social service and I don’t think there was one person in the room that was not moved by his bravery and dedication.
The evening was perfect. Its truly a pleasure for reviewer to report that there was nothing to complain about. Just one thing made me ponder. When the event was promoted on social media, Times of Malta were completely mum on the topic. Not a single mention was offered on their website or on their pages. Its a sad state of affairs when a staff photographer is giving a talk on such an important matter and his own newspaper doesnt back him up. Perhaps it was a result of overlooking but an opportunity wasted nontheless. They should have been shouting and boasting about it.
If you want to see some of the photos that illustrated the talk please click here:
You may also want to visit MIPP page on Facebook:
Darrin also has some amazing portfolio online. You can see the slideshow below. It has several images he took in Libya. I suggest that you actually watch it, you will not be dissapointed. Its jaw -dropping powerful photography.
And if you regret not coming to Darrin’s talk (and you really should!) book yourself a place on MIPP convention this October as they will host Heidi Levine – professional war correspondent and a truly talented photographer.
I know I will be there!
April 30, 2013
“Covering the Libyan conflict” – a talk by Darrin Zammit Lupi
Corinthia San Gorg Hotel, St Julians, Malta
A shorter version of this article has now been published in MIPP newsletter for June 2013. I have added some screenshots below but you can also read it online here:
Darrin`s works (tho not from Libya) have also been recently exhibited at this years edition of Earth Garden festival. I couldnt help myself and took some shots. The images show Maltese folk and rock musicians performing at a Ghana Fest few years back. Let them be additional visual aspect to this review, for our readers enjoyment.
If you want to follow Darrin Zammit Lupi on Facebook, please check the url below:
I am going to add another update with some more videos showing the work Darrin did in Libya. I managed to find some footage on Darrin`s Vimeo channel and I think this is obligatory to see at least one of them:
Reporting from Red Cross ship heading with supplies to Misurata:
Immigrants escaping the war in Libya, end up in Malta
More evacuations from Libya – this was a huge operation. That particular day I was at the Valletta Harbour as well, trying to take some photos.
Hope you enjoyed this updated review.
We are adding another update to this entry because few things have happened regarding Covering Libya crisis talk.
In January 2013, Darrin presented this subject at the SWPP Convention in London
and it became so well received that it was picked up by Professional Imagemaker magazine. This is one of the biggest and most respected photography publications in the UK. Darrin `s photos and recollection of Libyan crisis were given 5 full pages in the August-September 2013 issue. We have finally got our hands on the issue and made our own photographic evidence.
The brilliant thing is that two of Darrin`s photos have been also awarded in the monthly competitions in the same issue!
If you want to learn more about the Professional Imagemaker Magazine, just click on the URL`s below:
Moreover, The Times of Malta woke up from their slumber and decided to give some coverage to their staff photographer. They ran a mention about the article in Professional Imagemaker and believe us; this is very rare that they mention achievements of their photographers. This policy of silence is usually quite disappointing considering the fact that TOM has four incredibly talented and dedicated photographers and some equally stunning freelancers to match. But on this occasion Times of Malta made a right decision and we will not complain.
Darrin Zammit Lupi will take part in SWPP Convention in January 2014 and this time around he will speak about working as a photojournalist. So if you will be in London town this winter and want to attend, visit the website at: