Safely Documenting Conflict and Socio-Political Unrest

with Nicole Tung

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Course Description

There are unique challenges that accompany the act of photographing in conflict zones or areas of unrest, particularly when it comes to balancing news coverage with safety. As we consider documenting events in hostile environments, safety is always at the forefront of our minds, but the prep required to protect ourselves and others is not always clear—especially when circumstances are in flux. 

Freelance photojournalist Nicole Tung has chronicled everything from pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong to the legacy of ISIS and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here she shares tips for covering fast-moving events and breaking news, with a special focus on staying on top of your stories when information is unreliable. 

There are many ways to photograph action, whether it’s on a frontline, in the aftermath of a bombing, or during a protest that might turn violent. And there are also situations where nothing much seems to be happening, but a range of threats still exists. What kind of groups operate in the area you are visiting? Is kidnapping common? How can you navigate a potentially hostile encounter?

Because Nicole addresses multiple different scenarios that photographers might confront in a conflict zone, you finish the workshop with the know-how to cover your story, protect your sources, and—importantly—stay safe throughout it all.

Additional Information

All are welcome

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Documentary, Storytelling
Nicole Tung

Nicole Tung is a freelance photojournalist who primarily covers the Middle East for international publications and NGOs. Her work often explores populations affected by conflict and the consequences of war, from Middle Eastern migrants and Native American veterans with post-traumatic stress to those experiencing human rights abuses. She has followed the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as well as the legacy of ISIS, and in 2022 she documented the Russian invasion of Ukraine for Harper’s Magazine, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Nicole graduated from New York University in 2009 after studying journalism and history. She is based in Istanbul, Turkey.


Instagram: @nicoletung

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