All images by Zacharie Rabehi. Used with permission.
Photographer Zacharie Rabehi is a young independent photojournalist who left school at a young age to peruse design, business and advertising but eventually settled with photography. He started by shooting fashion and musicians, but eventually got into photojournalism work.
Zacharie is the winner of our “Women Who Inspire You” mission with EyeEm; and he talked to us not only about his winning image, but about lots of his work.
And if you’re looking to find an incredible, not well known photojournalist, Zacharie is your man.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Zacharie: I have always been passionate about history. Discovering the stories behind the appearances. Photography came naturally as a way for me to report and keep a trace of things that I discover and interest me. I try to pull into a photo the energy and emotion of the scenes living in front of me. Feeling connected to what I shoot helps me to narrate more emotionally the unfolding events I do witness.
Phoblographer: What made you get into street and documentary work?
Zacharie: I would integrate street photography into documentary work. If I just walk around a place, it is to narrate the daily life of a place in order to keep a document of it.
I am generally curious and feel quite easily connected to the grievance or hardship of the people around me. It is important for me to interact with the subjects if I want to find the right way of picturing them.
Phoblographer: So tell us the story of the winning image in the “Women Who Inspire Us” mission with EyeEm.
Zacharie: This photo is part of a series documenting the journey of refugees traveling from the Aegean sea through the Balkan route till northern Europe. I have been following for a few weeks groups of people who decided to leave their homes in order to find a safer living place.
On that particular image, you can have a short glimpse of how some volunteers are giving their time trying to make that journey a bit less traumatic for this people who have already lived so much hardship.
Phoblographer: A lot of your work is very intimate and about moments where people are interacting with one another, displaying some sort of emotion/passion, and tell a lot about someone. Which photographers influenced the way that you shoot?
Zacharie: I couldn’t tell if photographers have influenced the way I shoot, but coming from diverse fields a lot of them have been an inspiration. I had the chance to interact with Raghu Rai who is giving me precious advice. James Nacthwey is for me is a photographer who has raised the standards of photojournalism to new heights. Joachim Ladefoged, Harry Gruayert, Joseph Koudelka and many others have an aesthetic that sings to me eyes.
Phoblographer: Much of your work is in black and white and some are in color. What often dictates for you which one to use?
Zacharie: It is a decision that i take often while shooting. It simply comes down to the fact of if the colours are a distraction or an accentuation to the story I am trying to translate.
Phoblographer: Lots of photographers think either artistically or technically and it’s tough for them to connect the two. But you do a solid job. What’s often going through your mind when trying to capture a moment but also trying to get your own personal feelings on the subject matter?
Zacharie: The camera often becomes a link between you and your subject. Connecting without being too affected by a subject is an essential part of the process. The way you walk, hold the camera, choosing my angles–everything is defined by what I am shooting. Again, the best way to understand something your are shooting to spend enough time being immersed in it.
Phoblographer: Talk about your selection process when putting images online and in your portfolio. You seem to be very particular.
Zacharie: If I post singles, I pick the ones where the emotion of the event is the best translated.
For stories, it is often good to seek a pair of fresh eyes to help create a narration.
In opposition with yourself someone stranger to the story might have that distance necessary to help you put all of it together.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about the gear that you use.
Zacharie: It often comes down to the dilemma between portability and output quality. When the situation allows me, I carry the heavier gear ranging from full frame DSLR and medium format camera. When I feel the need to be lighter I choose less conspicuous equipment, generally a compact camera or a phone.