Arts & Culture

Sharpened Word: Shot 4 Times and Still Shooting

The Sharpened Word session in February hosted an afternoon with Halim H. Berbar, a multi-award winning photojournalist. It was held on Saturday, February 23 at 22 Hale Street.

Ipoh Echo had an exclusive one-on-one with the amiable Frenchman who has set foot in Europe, South America and Asia to capture still images of war, conflict and human suffering. He was shot four times and had braced the impact of countless explosives while on duty. With 35 years of experience under his belt, he has no less than 17 international prizes and is honoured as the ambassador of Nikon.

“I have been to Ipoh three times. Once I came with National Geographic as a filmmaker and we filmed in Kellie’s Castle and Ipoh. Last year I came for a coffee table book project which involved Penang, Malacca and Ipoh,” Halim shared.

What sparked off his interest in photography? “I was six when I saw a documentary on TV about this guy named Tim Page, one of the most famous photojournalists. The moment I saw him, I wanted to be a photojournalist. My aunty, the sister of my mother, bought me my first camera. That was how I started,” he explained.

He was trained in Sorbonne University in Paris. According to him, one needs a strong mind when capturing images of war, conflict and human suffering.

When asked on his reasons to select these genres to highlight, he replied, “I feel we are the witnesses of the war. I need to tell the truth with my eyes and pictures to people who don’t know what’s going on in other parts of the world.

“In photojournalism, a good photo must tell the whats and wheres,” he unveiled.

Here’s his advice for aspiring photojournalists who are just starting out: “To be very dedicated and give a 100% to be a photojournalist. This is a job that will take up all your time.”

Halim is currently based in KL and remains a senior photojournalist with SIPA Press. To find out more about his works, visit his Instagram of his name.

Mei Kuan

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