Publisher and co-founder of
Svetlana Bachevanova is a long time photojournalist and the publisher of FotoEvidence, a publishing house and activist organization that supports documentary photography focused on human rights and social justice.
Svetlana became a photojournalist during the transition from dictatorship to democracy in her native Bulgaria. Passionate about social justice she joined the first democratic newspaper “Democracy,” documenting the end of a long lasting Communist regime. For seven years she served as the chief photographer for the newspaper. In 1997 Svetlana moved on to become the first woman chief photographer for the Bulgarian News Agency.
Few years after moving to New York , in 2010, she and her partner David Stuart founded FotoEvidence in the tradition of using photography to draw attention to injustice, oppression and assaults on human dignity wherever they may occur. FotoEvidence is now internationally recognized as a premier publisher of documentary photography and an active partner with human rights organizations.
For nine years, the FotoEvidence Book Award recognized one photographer whose work demonstrates courage and commitment in the pursuit of social justice and, in 2017, FotoEvidence partnered with World Press Photo. The book award was renamed the FotoEvidence Book Award with World Press Photo. The selected project is published by FotoEvidence as part of a series of photo books dedicated to the work of photographers, whose commitment and courage deliver truths, creating awareness and intolerance towards violations of human dignity.
In three cases FotoEvidence has witnessed the photography we helped promote and published as books to directly influence governments and begin a process of social change.
In 2018 The W Award was established and a publication of a book is granted to engaged women photographers who want to tell their personal story in a form of a photo book.
Several FotoEvidence books have found their way on to best-photo-books-of-the-year lists at TIME, The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Mother Jones, Vogue and Photo-eye.
Photographer, Curator, Educator
Founder Director of Addis Foto Fest
Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Aïda left the country at a young age and spent an itinerant childhood between Yemen and England. After several years in a boarding school in Cyprus, she finally settled in Canada in 1985. In 2000, she graduated with a degree from the Communication Department with a major in Film from Howard University in Washington D.C. After graduation she worked as a photojournalist at the Washington Post, however her work can be found in several international publications.
Also as an exhibiting artist, Aida’s work has been shown in South Africa, Mali, Senegal, Egypt, Canada, United States of America, France, Germany, England, China, to name a few countries. A collection of her images can be found in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, Hood Museum and the Museum of Biblical Art in the United States. She is the 2007 recipient of the European Union Prize in the Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, in Bamako, Mali, the 2010 winner of the CRAF International Award of Photography in Spilimbergo, Italy, and a 2018 CatchLight Fellow in San Francisco, USA.
As one of the leading experts on photography from Africa, she has been a jury member on several photography competitions most notably the Sony World Photography Awards 2017 and the World Press Photo Contest 2017. She has also been on various panel discussions on photography in events such as African Union cultural summit, Art Basel and Tedx/Johannesburg. Moreover, she currently serves as a Canon Ambassador. Aida is the founder and director of the Addis Foto Fest (AFF), the first international photography festival in East Africa hosted since 2010 in the city of Addis Ababa. She continues to educate, curate and develop cultural projects with local and international institutions through her company DESTA (Developing and Educating Society Through Art) For Africa Creative Consulting PLC (DFA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Communications Director, Alexia Foundation
Eileen Mignoni is the Communications Director and on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for The Alexia Foundation, a nearly 30-year-old non-profit organization that provides substantial production grants for professional and student photojournalists to produce stories that foster understanding and expose social injustice. She is also a multimedia journalist who has produced work for National Geographic, The New York Times, La Tercera, Yale Climate Connections and others. Her reporting has been honored by a number of leading organizations including World Press Photo, POYi, the National Press Photographer’s Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
Photographer, visual artist and writer
Co-founder of Arab Image Foundation
Samer Mohdad was born in 1964 in Bzebdine, Lebanon, to a father who was an engineer and a mother who was a poet. After the Lebanese Civil War broke out, bombs, exile, fighting, and the death of close friends and acquaintances marked his adolescence. In 1983 he moved to Belgium to complete his studies and to became European citizen in 1992. He is holder of both citizenships, Lebanese and Belgian.
Mohdad studied photography at L’École Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc Liège, Belgium; he earned a B.S.A. in communications at Université de Liège, Belgium, in 1990, and a M.S. in visual communications at Capitol University, Seattle, in 2006. He worked as a photographer and author with Agence Vu, Paris, from 1988–2001, during which time his work was published in numerous international magazines and newspapers.
In 1990, he was commissioned by the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne to take a series of photographs of the Swiss army for a book and exhibition entitled ‘Voir la Suisse Autrement’, on the occasion of Switzerland’s 700 years of existence.
From 1992 to 1996, he was in charge of the relations with the Arab world at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne. During this time, his photography concentrated on the Arab world.
In 1993, he published War Children, Lebanon 1985 - 1992, a book on the children of the Lebanese civil war. These photographs had been exhibited at Visa pour l’Image in Pérpignan in 1992, and were shown again after the book’s publication at the Beirut Exhibition Center in 1993 and at the Musée de l’Elysée in 1994.
In 1992, he photographed 415 Palestinians expelled from Israel to no man's land in the south of Lebanon, and then portrayed the same men a few years later in 1995 after they had returned to Gaza. Those photos were published in a book called Return to Gaza in 1996.
For Du, a cultural magazine published in Zurich, he in 1994 completed a special double feature on Islam and another two years later on Iran, a joint project with fellow photographers Thomas Kern and Daniel Schwartz.
In 1996, he was a jury member at the World Press Photo in Amsterdam and the same year he started up the Arab Images Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon.
From 1997 to 1999, he was curator of exhibitions and head of workshops at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France.
In 1999, he won the Mother Jones Award in San Francisco for his book Mes Arabies published by Actes Sud in France, Braus in Germany and Dar an-Nahar for the Arab countries. The exhibition of Mes Arabies started in Geneva, and was then shown in the Beiteddine Palace and at Espace SD in Lebanon.
In 2000, Mes Arabies was shown at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, during the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, and finally at the King Abdulaziz Pubic Library in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Mohdad also gave a lecture entitled “Arab photographs and their place in the modern history” during a conference at the University of Aix-en-Provence, South France.
In 2001, Mes Arabies was exhibited in Germany at the IFA galleries in Stuttgart, Bonn, and Berlin.
From 2001 to 2003, Mohdad installed the Center for Images at the King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In 2003, he published a double feature entitled “Saudi Arabia in the eye of the typhus” in Zurich-based magazine Du.
In 2004, he produced a special feature on Lebanon for GEO magazine, in France.
In 2005, he produced and published the book Assaoudia, the second part to The Arabs trilogy, in co-edition with Actes-Sud, and exhibited his work at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France.
The same year he elaborated the project Mes Ententes as part of the EU and government-sponsored AFKAR program to strengthen Lebanese civil society and promote dialogue between Lebanese youth. The project assessed the return of displaced families to Mount Lebanon, for which he produced a 7-minute film and a book of photographs.
In 2006, Mohdad worked on a special history issue of GEO magazine about the crusader routes in Lebanon, and started teaching photography at the Notre Dame University in Lebanon and at the Visual Merchandising School in Vevey, Switzerland.
In 2007, he started up www.menassat.com, a website focusing on news, trends and events in the media in the 22 member states of the Arab League from Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
In 2008, he started cinema production and worked as executive producer for the movie “Tattooed Eye” by the Lebanese film director, Youmna Itani. This project involved a workshop in photographic arts and acting for young participants.
Mohdad also conducted a workshop for Bahraini photographers by invitation of the Bahraini Journalists Association.
In 2009, Mohdad showed his photographic works at the Doha Festival for Arts and Free Expression organized by the Arab Democracy Foundation in Qatar.
In 2010, his photographs of Saudi Arabia were published as a preface to the Decouvertes Gallimard book on Arabia.
In 2011 he exhibited Accomplished Visions; The Arabs at the Gallery Mark Hachem in
Beirut and participated to the Menasart Fair with his photographic essay Assaoudia.
He is the winner of the 2011 Pioneer Photographer Award from the National Geographic
Society All Roads Photography program.
Samer Mohdad currently lives in Lebanon, he recently published a book “Beirut Mutations” with Actes Sud in France, it was launched first in Lebanon at the French Book Fair of Beirut and the exhibition was started at the French Institute of Lebanon last fall 2012.
His works were exhibited during springtime 2013 at the submarine base in Bordeaux in its cycle “Photographers for the History” and during summer of the same year at “Rencontres d’Arles in Black”.
From 2011 until 2014 he worked as an expert in communication and networking for Euromed Audiovisuel III a programme financed by the EU and he operates from Lebanon.
His photographs were exhibited at FotoFest Biennial 2014 in Houstaon, USA. VIEW FROM INSIDE Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art. The same exhibition moved to Portland where an exhibition took place at Blue Sky, center of photographic art in June 2015 and at FotoIstambul in the fall of the same year.
In 2016, a preview of his new work in progress, has been exhibited at Hotel Dieu Museum in Tonnerre, it was accompanied by a retrospective showing all of his past works.
Later on the same year, his exhibition “The Arabs: accomplished visions” was showed at the Sol Mednick Gallery, at the university of arts, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA.
Samer Mohdad photography is part of the exhibition Football in the Arab World, which has been showed at Institute of the Arab World in Paris in 2019 and later on at FIFA museum in Zurich. He is currently working on the third part of the Arabs trilogy: “the last Arab; views from my window here and elsewhere”. He has published recently a novel, “Voyage en Pays Druze”.
Samer Mohdad’s photographs are part of the following institutional collections:
- Fond d’Art Contemporain de la Communauté Française en Belgique
- FNAC, France
- Maison Européenne de la Photographie, France
- Photography Museum in Charleroi, Belgium
- Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland
- Galerie Chateau d’Eau, Toulouse, France
- Photography Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
- Kunsthaus Lempertz, Germany
- Select Foundation, Switzerland
- IMA, Paris, France
- Autograph ABP, London UK
- British Museum, London UK
- Fifty Crows in San Francisco, USA
- Equity International in Chicago, USA
- Mark Hachem Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
- National Geographic All Road Program, Washington, USA
- Museum of Fine Art Huston, USA
- CAP Kuwait
- Blue Sky, center of photographic art, Portland, USA
- Gallery Tanit, Beirut, Lebanon
- Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA
- Hotel Dieu Museum, Tonnerre, France
- Cleveland Museum of Art, USA
- George Eastman Museum, USA
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas, USA