In Yemen, the fighting, which enters its fifth year, has not only led to death, destruction and disease; it has perturbed every aspect of the daily lives of the Yemenis. Desperation prevails, and happy times are increasingly ephemeral.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) teamed up with six young Yemeni photographers, Ahmad Al Basha, Karrar Al Moayyad, Saleh Bahlais, Abdallah Al Jaradi, Khaled Al Thawr and Ali Al Sonidar, who chronicled the devastating impact of the conflict on their respective communities across Yemen.
Sonidar, who grew up in the bustling alleys of the spectacular Old City of Sana’a, developed a knack for photography while observing tourists from all over the world snap photos of the souks, the architecture and the people.
“Their photos were much more than lighting and compositions,” the 28-year-old photographer says.
“Their photos told stories of places and people and I thought that I wanted my photography to do the same: to be human, to convey a message, to instigate change.”
Now, Sonidar is part of a collective of photographers hailing from across Yemen documenting daily life amid conflict. Often, their images are the reason why a starving family can put dinner on the table or a student gets a new backpack.
“I honestly hope to go back to taking the pictures of tourists in the city and of joyful moments,” he explains. “But it is impossible now and someone needs to tell the story of the war.”
In Taiz, the city witnessing the worst kinds of urban warfare, garbage litters the streets leading to the proliferation of diseases, which were thought to have been eradicated. Abject poverty ravages Yemen’s largest cities Sana’a and Aden. In Sa’ada, destruction has become a playground for children and in Marib displaced children challenge deprivation inventing and assembling toys to make the days less heavy.