Damir's Feed
May 31, 2012

Feature: In Myanmar, stigma and neglect add to HIV misery

YANGON (Reuters) – The mother and child who touch hands in an overcrowded Yangon hospice are not family, but their tragic history begins in the blood.

Jam, 42, a mother of six, and Kanama, aged 2, are both HIV positive. Abandoned by their families, they must now find comfort in each other, although Jam still yearns for her husband to return to the private HIV hospice in the suburbs of Myanmar’s biggest city.

May 31, 2012

In Myanmar, stigma and neglect add to HIV misery

YANGON (Reuters) – The mother and child who touch hands in an overcrowded Yangon hospice are not family, but their tragic history begins in the blood.

Jam, 42, a mother of six, and Kanama, aged 2, are both HIV positive. Abandoned by their families, they must now find comfort in each other, although Jam still yearns for her husband to return to the private HIV hospice in the suburbs of Myanmar’s biggest city.

Apr 5, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

A dazed memory

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By Damir Sagolj

It is twenty years since the man was killed. His remains were given different names; he became just a number in sad statistics – one of ours or theirs. Behind the broken window of his burnt home, between grave marks of innocents only ghosts live.

I don’t have any of my pictures from the 1992-95 war in Bosnia anymore. I shot many photos – mostly of dead people and destruction. Very few had any life in them. Then, just as the killings stopped and a different war continued in November 1995 I abandoned my photos; I didn’t want to have them anymore.

Mar 23, 2012
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Collecting karma

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By Damir Sagolj

An angel-like girl, dressed all in white carries a pack of toothbrushes on a Sunday morning. She walks slowly, smiles all around and seems not to be bothered by music so loud that one can’t hear his own thoughts. She is on her way to the Mang Teung Sua Jung Cemetery in Chonburi province – where members of a local Thai Chinese community will exhume unclaimed bodies. Toothbrushes will be used to clean the dirt from bones.

One of the first books I read after arriving in Thailand more than two years ago was Bizarre Thailand – a collection of strange tales from the “land of smiles”. It was a nice introduction to what I could expect here in Thailand but I thought to myself – I’ve seen enough elsewhere; bizarre things in other countries so nothing can surprise me.

Feb 27, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

Flirt

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Photographer Damir Sagolj won second place in the multimedia story section of the POYi awards for the following piece on the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.

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View more of Damir’s photographs from Japan here.

Feb 21, 2012
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A night at Tiffany’s

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I started this little “pet project” that will take me who knows where.

It is about Pattaya, a magnet for foreign tourists seeking sun, sea, watersports and racy nightlife not far from Bangkok. Andrew Marshall calls it Sin City, Sodom-on-Sea, the Gomorrah of Tomorroh in his article for Time magazine.

It was just a simple, sleepy fishing village before Americans turned it into something very different – a R&R destination for their soldiers fighting in Vietnam. The rest is legend.

Feb 20, 2012
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Through opium fields

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By Damir Sagolj

She killed her husband by giving him six daughters. In the land of warriors, drug lords and brutal highlanders – he wanted a son. And then he just died disappointed, Moe Mohm said, leaving her to grow opium and raise girls.

By the fireplace, obviously the central point of a household high in the mountains of the Shan state, Moe sits and talks to us in a frantic combination of laughter and tears. She is an ethnic Pa-O and wears a towel above her pretty face with teeth ruined by betel nut. Only a glance at her hands reveals real age and hard work in fields. The house seems to be okay – humble but well kept and clean.

Feb 10, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

Damir Sagolj wins World Press award

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Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj won first prize in the World Press Photo Daily Life Singles category with his photograph of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung on a wall in Pyongyang.

Below, he recounts taking the photograph.

“After days of excitement and lots of rare pictures in the provinces, I came back to Pyongyang without big plans for shooting in the capital. All I wanted were some moody general views of the city. This is probably the easiest big picture I shot for a long time – it was taken from the window of my hotel room in Pyongyang early morning, just before the sunrise. I knew that portrait was there and I insisted with our hosts to get a room on a very high floor facing that direction. So, all I had to do is to wake up early in the morning, make a coffee, light a cigarette and make sure I exposed well. The scene has this eerie look for maybe 5 to 10 minutes, then the revolutionary songs and propaganda speeches from loudspeakers wake the city up.”

Dec 13, 2011
via Photographers' Blog

Lessons from the floods

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By Damir Sagolj

In the beginning it was business as usual. Children played in the water, women moved around on makeshift rafts and people ignored the rising water from the north of Thailand. There were lots of smiling faces and very few worried ones. Looking from the outside, one could say people were having fun and soon all would be forgotten.

Then, suddenly it was not fun any more. As the murky water rose and moved towards the capital it was obvious the scale of this year’s floods would be something very few expected. The land of smiles turned into the land of worry, then anger.

Nov 30, 2011

Clinton causes barely a stir in Myanmar’s curious capital

NAYPYITAW (Reuters) – Myanmar’s new capital, Naypyitaw, translates as “Abode of Kings”, fitting for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to begin historic talks that could restore some lustre to one of the world’s most reclusive states.

But as she arrived on Wednesday to become the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years, there were no crowds, no festivities, no flags and seemingly few preparations aside from some policemen outside the hotel compound where she will stay and on nearby roads.

    • About Damir

      "Born in Sarajevo in 1971. Damir joined Reuters as a staff photographer in 1997. He has covered major events in the Balkans, Middle East and Americas and is currently chief photographer in Thailand. Damir was in the Bosnian army for five years and worked for the Paris-based Sipa press agency as their Bosnian photographer. The opinions expressed are his own."
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