At the age of 15, Muhammad Zaatary began working in an industrial production, as a technician, for fourteen successive years, where he put an end to this job in 1994. In 1982 and precisely during Israeli invasion in Lebanon , he got engaged in dispensing newspapers, and began working in a photojournalist’s office, Nazih Nakouzi, where he studied the fundamental principles of photography and made a progress. As a free photographer, he captured photos of everything that grabbed his attention. Later in his life, he was introduced to the principle of AP (Associate Press), Saleh Rifai, who admired his perspective and demanded for his photos.
In 1994, Muhammad Zaatary broke some of his cameras, sold others and gave some to Saleh Rifai. For few months he stayed without work. Later, he went back to Saleh Rifai, who has kept his cameras, so he took them back.
Photography was curiosity to Muhammad Zaatary. He was eagerly desired to capture photos of any situation that occurred. “Patriotic feeling pushes you to do your best,” he says. Thus, self development has been a primary step towards becoming a competent photographer.
Currently, he is an adoring volunteer in “Wolfer Islamic Association.” This association consists of around 2005 orphans having only mothers (without fathers). They collect money in a civilized manner to help these orphans.
Muhammad Zaatary says that danger can be found in every war. However, the most perilous day of his career lifespan was during July 2006 War, when the Israeli airplanes bombarded the people who were departing from Marwahin region.
In his opinion, an ideal photographic image should focus on the meaning of the photo in order to convey the precise significance which it holds. He assents, “The meaning of the pictures captured during the Israeli invasion, were the most supreme and the most special ones.” Thus, Muhammad Zaatary can not fail to spot and capture photos, since his aim is to reveal the reality and to uncover the truth during the destructive occasions.
To Muhammad Zaatary, camera is an instrument that soaks up the incidents, and traces it in the history, so that the events will be recalled eternally and never get erased. Moreover, camera is his eye; he observes the pictures before capturing them.
Muhammad Zaatary claims, “The importance of helping someone in danger equalizes the significance of capturing photos.” He illustrates this by stating, that a photographer ought to shoot pictures so that he does not overlook the message which he desires to deliver. After performing his job, he must seek his best to help.
“A photographer, on no account, can be neutral,” he states. As a proficient photographer, he is with the defeated people, in spite of their religion, moral beliefs, and opinions. He clicks on the button of his camera to humanity, (He takes photos and delivers it to the whole world) and attempts to transport his photos without ambiguity.
The political and social instabilities does not affect his decisions in capturing photos, because he believes that, as a photographer he has to shoot photos of mutually dreadful or astounding situations.
Throughout the war, Muhammad Zaatary “shuts off” the sentiment emotions towards his family. He supposes that feelings must disappear so that it does not control him. During his absence, his family calls him in order to make sure if he is doing well. His family even shares with him, in his works.
As a Lebanese, his purpose is to demonstrate the violence and the brutality of Israel in Lebanon , and to reveal the reality. Moreover, his duty is to disclose the miseries of the resistance Al Moukawame and capture photos exposing that despite the fact our motherland was destroyed, Lebanon is back on its feet and still surviving. His photos show the “Arrival of Lebanon from damages.”
Muhammad Zaatary has an essential message to the Lebanese people. He states that photography career resembles any voluntary or charitable occupation. Anyone who is a photographer, yet dislikes photography won’t be able to reach the optimum and be a successful one. He says, “Not everyone holding a camera is a photojournalist.” One should have the contents of love and passion for photography, in order to progress and advance.
• Name and Surname: Muhammad Zaatary
• Place of birth: Saida , Lebanon
• Date of birth: 1965
• Agency that employed him: Free Photographer (1982-1988)
Al Nahar (Free Photographer) 1986-1987
Agency that employs him: AP “Associate Press” (Free Photographer) 1991-till now
Daily Star Newspaper 1997-till now
• Length of Career: Since 1982