Documentary photographer Seth Herald

Approx read: 4 mins

Meet documentary photographer Seth Herald.

Seth Herald (b.1991) is an American Documentary photographer from Northwest Ohio and is now based in Jerusalem.

He has worked across the United States covering national news and has spent time in Israel and the Occupied Territories working on personal projects, documenting daily life and covering daily news.

In 2015, He placed first and second in the Indiana Associated Press Awards for his collaborative work covering the HIV epedimic in Southern Indiana with WFYI public radio for Best Continuous Coverage of a Single Event and Best News Series.

October,28,2017: White Lives Matter Rally-Shelbyville, Tennessee. Members of the Traditionalist Workers Party shout at counter protesters who were staged across the street from the white nationalists.

As a photojournalist, you’re in control of both words and images. Do you think this affects the stories you choose?

Most definitely. Not fully understanding the narrative of a story or given news situation can lead to misinformation, and in our world of “fake news” that can be very dangerous. How a person or situation is written about and photographed can have huge affects on how people view the stories and images I and my colleagues produce.

You’ve covered violent protests in the US as well as the West Bank. What are the differences in covering conflict at home versus abroad?

Covering protests in the Occupied West Bank is an all day event. There is no structure to protests and violence is expected, whereas in the U.S. violence tends to come unexpectedly- at least so it seems? And protests can be put to an end as quickly as they started.

Young Palestinan men take cover during protests and clashes near the Israeli settlement of Beit El on the outskirts of Ramallah in the West Bank April 13, 2018.

How do you protect yourself and your gear when things go pear-shaped?

Being very observant and following your gut is key to protecting yourself. If I keep myself protected, then ultimately my gear stays protected as well… at least most of the time.

Do you have any safety training?

I’ve no formal training, but I’ve informally learned from veteran photographers/mentors on the ground how to navigate and care for myself in tense situations. There are programs for this type of training that I plan on taking in the near future.

Bystanders assist a woman after she was struck by a car that drove into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville.

You’re a US expat living in Ramallah. A common misconception is…

A misconception I’m confronted with from time to time is that I’m just another western journalist coming in with an already formed opinion and perception of this place, and to be honest my first time in the Occupied West Bank in 2014, I had my own ideas, but they were quickly changed.

Palestinan protesters during clashes near Beit El in the West Bank March,16,2018. The clashes were in response to the United States recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

How do you prepare for an assignment?

Research and preparation, lots of it, for me are key before any assignment. The night before an assignment my gear is packed ready to go and my clothes and boots are laid out so I can get up and go.

Got any advice for budding photojournalists?

Don’t get into the industry for glamour and fame; you won’t find it. Secondly, work hard, shoot everyday, and study the work of those that came before. Don’t be scared to reach out to someone who’s work you admire. Finding a good mentor is also very helpful.

Blood is seen on the pavement shortly after a vehicle ran through a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, killing one person and injuring 19 others.

Please describe a recent or future project.

I’ve got a few projects in the works which I will be starting soon. A recent story I did for Mondoweiss was about Palestinian Muslims and Christians who came together to protest the closing of the Church of the Holy Sepulchral, which was great: a lot of people don’t realize that Christians and Muslims have been living in peace here for thousands of years. So to be able to visualize that was something for me that I won’t forget.

April 27, 2018: tear gas flies through the air during clashes near the Israeli Settlement of Beit El on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Seth Herald header profile image by Matthew Hatcher
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