Andrea Bruce

andrea bruce's damascus work in national geographic

Andrea Bruce's work from Damascus, Syria was published in the March issue of National Geographic.

National Geographic also featured Andrea in an interview about her experience working in Damascus, showing a rare glimpse of life under the regime.

"A city I’ve always loved has become a tense bubble surrounded by encroaching chaos and violence," she said. "Followed by government-approved escorts, I was only allowed to leave my hotel at specific times; searching for the real Damascus under their wary and watchful eyes. Nevertheless, what I eventually found were people, living in the shadows of an over-crowded city, who largely didn’t take sides and whose loyalty was largely undefined. As in most of the world, people simply want to live their lives."

Her tearsheet in the print edition of National Geographic is below. 




outdoor installation in za'atari refugee camp

NOOR photographers Nina BermanAlixandra FazzinaAndrea Bruce, and Stanley Greene worked on a collaborative photography project at the Za'atari refugee camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan. The photographers documented life in the camp and set up a photo portrait booth. They made several thousand images, nearly 100 of which were turned into large scale prints, blown up to 3 meters wide, and pasted on the camp's concrete security walls.

“We tried to strike a balance with images showing daily life without sugar coating the reality and at the same time not make the experience of looking at the wall depressing,” wrote Nina Berman on her Instagram, adding that certain questions would never be concerns when photographing for publications, but presenting photographs in public where the subjects are also the audience becomes an entirely different conversation.

To learn more about the  NOOR Foundation/Za'atari project, contact the NOOR office.


a fresh set of eyes

After a great first day, NOOR photographers had practical and creative advice to share on the second day of the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography in Istanbul, Turkey.


“The danger, for all of us, is that you stay in the comfort zone. Whereas if you try and experiment, you might be surprised with the outcome”, explained Jon Lowenstein, recapping the individual portfolio reviews.


“I can see that some of you struggle with what you feel are important elements for the story and your creativity. The illustrative images are often the weakest ones,” said Benedicte Kurzen.

“Having an ‘idea list’ is great, but when you follow the list too rigidly, you miss out on the images that are magical,” continued Jon.


“I sometimes work with a list of things to capture in order to tell a story, but an ‘emotional’ list. Feelings that I am trying to show in images: fear, isolation, relief, etc.,” said Andrea Bruce.


In the afternoon, three groups were formed and each group discussed and edited a small assignment the participants prepared around the theme of "fragile".

“It has been a great experience editing my work with Andrea and the other participating photographers," said Achilleas Zavallis from Cyprus. "Having the input from these photographers with diverse backgrounds, coming from different countries, gave me a new perspective on my own work. Being able to get their collective knowledge helps me to look at my work with a fresh set of eyes.”

The masterclass continues until the end of the week. Check back to see how the next few days go!

Images by Frank Zuidweg.

istanbul masterclass

Yesterday, the 2014 NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography kicked off in Istanbul. For five days, 14 photographers originating from 10 different countries in the region get together with NOOR photographers Andrea Bruce, Benedicte Kurzen, Jon Lowenstein, and Stanley Greene; and NOOR’s managing director Evelien Kunst.

Situated in the headquarters of a 19th-century Imperial Ottoman Bank, SALT explores critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, and cultivates innovative programs for research and experimental thinking. “We could not think of a better venue to organize the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography”, said Serdar Darendeliler, co-founder of Genis Aci Project Office, who hosts the event this year.


The participants want to improve their editing skills, learn more about the market, grant writing, planning, preparation, how to organize and present themselves to editors, and other practical things. They are also very interested in ethic debates and general discussions on how to stay motivated and find new collaborations. “I want to learn how to transform an idea into a visual story,” said Yasaman Dehmiyani from Iran. Meanwhile, Ozge Sebzeci from Turkey is interested in finding out more about how to approach long-term projects and decide when they are done.


During one-on-one portfolio reviews, the photographers got to know each other and their work better. The first day concluded with a presentation by Andrea Bruce, in which she showed work from various personal projects and assignments she did for the New York Times over the past year, including her powerful work from Damascus

“For me, the most important thing to do in news stories is to humanize them," said Andrea. "To show that people are living a day-to-day normal life, even in conflict situations. I see it as my role to educate the people that read the newspaper at the other end of the world.” On the question of whether she ever felt threatened or if people got angry with her, she answered, "I believe in the power of respect. You have to respect people and then you will gain their trust."

There are many different topics to discuss and more to explore in the coming days, and we are already off to a great start!

Images by Frank Zuidweg.

third anniversary of the syrian crisis

"March is also March in Syria, [...] the whites of the flowering almond branches, the orange of tulips and then this temperate, kind wind, full of light and jasmine. Then, in the house on your left, yesterday, just before sunset, Asma committed suicide. A bullet in the head – March isn’t March, in Syria. She was 13." — from a feature by NOOR's Stanley Greene.

Tomorrow is widely recognized as the third anniversary of the worst humanitarian crisis in modern times: the Syrian civil war. About three years ago, minor protests in Syria in response to the Arab Spring and government corruption escalated to large-scale unrest. The ongoing armed conflict between rebel groups and forces loyal to the Ba'ath government has created almost 2.5 million Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR.

In 2013, NOOR's Stanley Greene and Andrea Bruce worked extensively to cover the Syrian crisis, following those involved in the fighting and the civilians and emergency workers caught in between. As winter turns to spring and the first flowers tentatively bloom, we invite you to take a look at Crisis in Syria, our collection of stories about the conflict, and remember that March may not be March in Syria.

afghan americans exhibit

Last Friday, Andrea Bruce's Afghan Americans opened at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, Alaska. The exhibition runs until Saturday, March 29.

Andrea chose to photograph Afghan-Americans who came from the United States to Afghanistan after 2001 to rebuild their country. They are businessmen and artists, politicians and aid workers. Many are idealistic believers in the democracy the United States promised. Now, faced with governmental corruption and an increase in violence, many are considering returning to the States.

noor-nikon masterclass 2014 tutors are announced

Andrea Bruce | NOOR

The tutors for this years NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography (In conjunction with Genis Aci Project Office GAPO) are; Andrea Bruce, Benedicte Kurzen & Jon Lowenstein. The deadline for applications is Monday the 10th of February.  Don't miss out on this opportunity. The masterclass will be accessible to young and aspiring documentary photographers and photojournalists from the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey.

If you are interested to find out more and read about experiences of participants from former masterclasses, then see examples of previous workshops here & here.

NOOR, Nikon and Genis Aci Project Office (GAPO) invite photographers to submit their portfolios for selection for the 2014 NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography in Turkey.

NOOR photo agency and foundation  and Nikon Europe support documentary photographers from emerging markets all over the world through the organization of annual motivational masterclasses.

The 2014 program takes place in Istanbul, Turkey, organized in collaboration with Genis Aci Project Office (GAPO), 24 March through to 28 March 2014.


During the five days of the workshop, 15 participants, together with three member photographers of NOOR and NOOR’s managing director will share experiences, work on portfolios, improve editing skills and learn how to pick up and develop stories. Each day consists of intensive communication with the photographers on the subjects of technical features and the peculiarities of the international photo market. It is a unique opportunity to gain new knowledge, contacts, learn to tell stories in a visual language and develop a personal vision.

The workshop is free of charge; travel and accommodation costs will be reimbursed (possession of a passport and travel insurance is required to apply).


For submission you are required to have:

• Basic experience in documentary photography or photojournalism;

• A high level of motivation;

• English language skills (the workshop is in English);

• A good technical understanding of your camera equipment, a working knowledge of the media environment and basic image management skills.

 To apply you need to send a PDF file not exceeding 6 MB including:

• A CV including your contact information and a written text explaining your work and projects. Please clarify your involvement in photography by showing a proven track record, proof of a photographic training or at least 1-year experience of practice;

• Motivation letter in English (1 page);

• A portfolio of max. 30 images with text introductions and captions (please show your story telling skills by presenting at least one picture story of 8 images).

Please send your application to: before midnight C.E.T. Monday 10 February 2014.

If sending a PDF creates a problem, we accept links and word documents or alternative formats. For more information contact NOOR via or tel. +31.20.6164040 or Skype: noorimages (Amsterdam).

In case you are selected for the workshop, you will be asked to perform a short assignment to work on before the workshop starts.

Application deadline: 10 February 2014 (before midnight C.E.T.).

Organized with the generous support of Nikon Europe B.V.


andrea bruce: shooting for the New Yorker, via Instagram!

© Andrea Bruce

Andrea (@andreabruce_noor) is posting on the New Yorker instagram site (@newyorkermag) with Omar and Mustafa, a father and son from Iraq who are road-tripping across the United States to their new home in Portland, OR.

"Omar and I worked together for 8 years in Iraq while I worked for The Washington Post. A few months ago he and his family immigrated to the states, landing in the DC area where they faced a bed-bug infested apartment, bad schools, gangs and a high cost of living. I’m documenting their move to the west coast and their new start. " - Andrea.

The above photo was taken in their beautiful Baghdad home in 2011. Thanks to employees of The Washington Post, the Iraq Refugee Assistance Project and The Aftermath Project for getting them here. @noorimages @refugee_rights @noorimages