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Sam Barzilay by Stéphanie de Rougé

At 11, Sam was given a camera by his uncle and entered his junior school photography club in Greece to learn more about the medium. That’s where he saw an image of the shadow of a fork against a plate by Kertesz. He was amazed by the beauty and the strength coming from this extremely simple composition. He studied philosophy and photography at TUFTS University and at the School of Museum of fine art in Boston, Massachusetts. He then tried to make a living with photography, mainly in travel and social documentary assignments for Greek magazines in Central Asia at a time where not many photographers were going there. Then came the time (2004-2005) for 1 year mandatory military service in Greece and Sam explains that “so as not to lose his mind”, he spent all his free time planning a 3-month journey to the Wahkan Corridor – a narrow strip of land in Afghanistan, separating Tadjikistan and Pakistan. During this challenging journey, he lost 17 pounds, learnt to deal with an 8-hour interrogation by the Tadjik intelligence services, carried with him a DVD with footage of the sacking of the Kyrgyz palace and overthrow of the Kyrgyz government that a friend photo journalist had handed to him to bring back to the US among other incredible adventures. Retrospectively he is surprised he and his friend made it alive.

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