Do not forget the people, even in the most difficult or limiting situations. That was the message that the noted photographer Anthony O'Brien gave to young people and professionals involved in photography who attended a recent conference at Universidad Andrés Bello’s Vina del Mar Campus.
O'Brien, a documentary photographer, has worked as a photo journalist for a number of renowned publications around the world, including Life Magazine, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, among many others.
He said one of his most enriching visits was to the Middle East where he covered the Gulf War for Life Magazine, and it was his time in the field of battle in 2003 that encouraged him to publish the children's book Afghan Dreams in 2007.
"One thing I learned in my travels is that most people do not realize that we are equal, we want the same things, which are peace and education for our children, the latter mainly so our children can have a good life," he said. The book Afghan Dreams explains the reality in Afghanistan, because when he came home his children asked him about the war and did not understand was happening there.
"For me to capture what happens in war, in the streets with drugs and prostitution, it is my job, but do not misunderstand, this is what I do and I need to spend the necessary time to do it well, and not just show up ‘click’ and leave, you have to know the people, it’s not only about the destruction, there are people there just like us," he continued.
O'Brien's work has been presented in museums in Massachusetts, Florida, Cairo, New York and Sag Harbor. His latest publication is Afghan Dreams, young voices of Afghanistan, which was published by the Bloomsbury Press.
O'Brien currently teaches what he loves: photography through the Marion Center of Photographic Arts at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In the coming weeks, Universidad Andres Bello’s Viña del Mar Campus will present the exhibition "Afghan Dreams."
This article was originally written in Spanish and has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.