Master Shots: Ron Haviv

photographer Ron Haviv interviewed by Sharon Kitchens

 Darfur Girls Carnegie
Darfuri girls leave their camp to search for firewood. The journey will expose to danger of attack and rape.
2005 – Darfur, Sudan
Ron Haviv-VII Photos

I first met Ron Haviv at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Rockport, Maine in 2006 or 2007, while in a weeklong course with his VII colleague Antonin Kratochvil. It was a life-changing experience, one that brought me further out of my shell and taught me to be a better photographer.  It is a gift to spend time learning from a photographer such as Haviv or Kratochvil. They are remarkable persons, modern day historians, and preservers of the truth.

Haviv has produced images of the most important conflict and humanitarian crises that have made headlines around the world. Numerous museums and galleries have featured his work, including The Louvre, United Nations, and The Council on Foreign Relations. He has published three critically acclaimed collections of his photography—Blood and Honey: A Balkan War Journal, Afghanistan: On the Road to Kabul and Haiti: 12 January 2010.

For anyone who wants to develop their photography skills and mature as a person I highly recommend Ron‘s Master Class: “Photojournalism Today” August 11 – 17, 2013 at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport.


What is your earliest memory of photography? How did it come to you or how did you find it?

To be honest, while I obviously knew photography existed, it was not something I paid a lot of attention to whilst growing up. My earliest memory of photography came with looking at the front page of newspapers as I delivered them around the neighborhood.

I’ve heard people who take pictures of conflict describe themselves as war photographers, documentary photographers and anti-war photographers. How would you explain what you do?

I am simply a photographer. I attempt to communicate with images. To tell stories of what I am seeing and what I believe people should know about. More often than not that happens in a conflict area.

What is your most personal image? What is the story behind it? 

I have a connection to all my images. Part of myself and my experiences resides in the photography.

How did you find out your images of the murder of Bosnian Muslims by a Serbian paramilitary force were being used as evidence by the prosecutor in the trial of the former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic? Has this experience changed the way you work? Has it changed you? How so?

My work from the former Yugoslavia has been used by The Hague for a number of years in various cases with just the most recent being the trial of Radovan Karadzic. It has been fascinating as the work gets older that it changes into a historical document from the original life as a news image. It has encouraged me that my work has a life beyond the date of publication and that it will hopefully continue to inform and educate people for
many years to come.

What’s going through your head when you are in the middle of chaos? How do you prepare yourself for those moments you are covering a war zone? 

Multiple things are constantly going through my head when in a conflict zone. The first and foremost is how do I make sure I survive? The second is how do I work here? The third is how do I survive? Preparations depend on being smart, thorough and as well prepared as possible for as many contingencies that you can think of plus a few that you can’t think of.

Are there particular kinds of stories you’re drawn to? Any you steer clear of?

During my career I have been often drawn to stories where human rights are being abused and where there might be an historical event. Sad to say these events are often the same. I try not to cover stories that are exploitative of innocent subjects. 


A wounded man awaits treatment in Tahrir square during the protests to out President Hosni Mubarak.
2011- Cairo, Egypt
Ron Haviv-VII Photos