Mag­num elects Greece-based lens­man Enri Canaj as nom­i­nee

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY SAKIS IOAN­NI­DIS

It was dur­ing a reg­u­lar night­time pa­trol off the coast of Chios in 2014 that the of­fi­cers on board the port author­ity ves­sel spot­ted a rub­ber dinghy crammed with mi­grants and asy­lum seek­ers just as dawn was be­gin­ning to break.

Fear­ing ar­rest, the mi­grants tried to es­cape, end­ing up on a small islet off Oi­nousses, dis­ori­ented and con­fused about where they were. “They formed a long line as they came down a hill they had scram­bled to the top of. They had been lo­cated by sol­diers posted on the islet. I hung back as they reached the coast and that is when I saw the woman with the baby in her arms star­ing out into the void, some­where out at sea, and the look in her eyes just floored me,” says pho­tog­ra­pher Enri Canaj of that mis­sion, which he had un­der­taken for a story for Kathimerini.

The pho­to­jour­nal­ist, a close as­so­ciate of the news­pa­per, was re­cently in­vited to join the fam­ily of top photo agency Mag­num as a nom­i­nee, pre­sent­ing the work he has done on the refugee cri­sis.

“I’m not in­ter­ested in raw footage,” stresses Canaj. “I wanted to show their tragic sit­u­a­tion in a way that was tran­scen­den­tal but didn’t gloss over it.”

Mag­num is a co­op­er­a­tive founded in Paris in 1947 by a group of the world’s fore­most pho­tog­ra­phers, among them Henri Cartier-Bres­son, Robert Capa and David Sey­mour. Mem­bers of the agency, which turns 70 this year, have cap­tured some of the most im­por­tant mo­ments in the world’s his­tory and it con­tin­ues to send its pho­tog­ra­phers to the front lines of de­vel­op­ments.

Canaj, along with Emin Oz­men from Turkey and half-Bel­gian, halfS­pan­ish Cristina de Mid­del, are the three Mag­num nom­i­nees an­nounced at the agency’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in New York.

Al­ba­nia-born Canaj came to Greece at the age of 11 and stud­ied pho­tog­ra­phy at the Le­ica Academy. In 2007 he took part in a Bri­tish Coun­cil pro­ject on mi­gra­tion, at­tend­ing a year­long work­shop with Mag­num pho­tog­ra­pher Nikos Economopou­los. He has since been work­ing in the Balkans, mainly Kosovo and Al­ba­nia, as well as Greece, fo­cus­ing on mi­gra­tion and the re­cent cri­sis, and has re­ceived nu­mer­ous dis­tinc­tions for his work, as well as work­ing with lead­ing in­ter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tions.

Canaj was re­cently awarded a schol­ar­ship from the Manuel River­aOr­tiz Foun­da­tion For Docu­men­tary Pho­tog­ra­phy & Film and is cur­rently show­ing his work as part of the schol­ar­ship at Les Ren­con­tres d’Ar­les in France, one of the world’s lead­ing pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­vals.

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