Stormer: Photos ‘not for happiness’
German photojournalist Carsten Stormer has been based in Manila for several years now, sending photos of Asia home to
Europe. And he is the first to say, his pictures aren’t really about good news.
“My work is essentially not for happiness,” said Stormer who has covered conflicts in Asia, African and the Middle East, from Cambodia and Myanmar to Syria, a country being ravaged by a conflict Stormer has followed “pretty much since the beginning.”
In Cambodia, he covered the victims of acid attacks, which have been prevalent in almost 23 provinces for close to four decades.
In Syria, he captured images of bloodied victims, and communities reacting to violence, although he says he is careful not to show any photos of dead children. “I don’t want any side to use the photos of dead children to advance their interests,” Stormer said.
“I show dead people but some images really can’t be shown,” he added.
Stormer spoke to media practitioners, photographers and communication students from various universities who gathered for the forum series Pitik, which featured Stormer and had the theme “Portraying Asia to Europe.”
The latest Pitik is the 12th in the series, organized yearly by the Konrad Adenuaer Asian Center for Journalism, mainly alongside its Diploma courses in Photojournalism and Multimedia Journalism. It was held 04 December 2015 at Faber Hall at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Stormer has worked for Asian media organizations like as the Phnom Penh Post and the Myanmar Times. He has been producing stories on wars, conflicts and human rights protection and other social issues since 2004.
Stormer presented four of his photo stories that best capture the way he exposes issues in Asia to the European audience.
The stories were shot in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. In his speech, Stormer shared insights on how to gain the trust of his subjects and his reasons for choosing the beat he covers. “I’m a storyteller. I get intrigued by interesting stories. This is my passion… I speak with my context on the ground. I read a lot about the area,” Stormer said.
This year’s Pitik forum coincided with the on-campus sessions of the Diploma in Photojournalism (DPJ) program. Among those who attended were nine Asian journalists who were in Manila to complete their diploma program.