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Tanya Habjouqa On Looking At The World Through A Different Lens

Tanya Habjouqa sees things differently than the rest of us. She’s a photographer who was born in Jordan, raised in North Texas and now lives in the Middle East. Her images have appeared everywhere from the New York Times to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and she won a World Press photo award this year.

She’s got a one-of-a-kind seat on the front lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and she joins KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, for this week’s Friday Conversation.

Interview Highlights: Tanya Habjouqa…

…on her untraditional, award-winning photo series ‘Occupied Pleasures’: “I think deeply whenever I’m putting a story out there how this is going to be perceived in Texas, in the U.S., in Europe. And certainly I think about how it is going to be perceived regionally and most importantly for the people that I’m covering their story.”

…on what life is like for her and her family: “It’s been more stressful than usual. It usually takes a dose of humor to put up with this place. I call it Kafkaesque bureaucracy, you know the crossing checkpoints and putting up with the bureaucracy, it’s slow and maddening and it takes a lot of humor on a good day. But these last few weeks, for example we heard sirens on multiple occasions, the warning sirens that there was incoming from Gaza and so that was surreal and then the iron dome, you would hear it go off and it would almost sound like an explosion overhead. We live five minutes away from where the Palestinian teen was kidnapped and burned alive.”

…on moving back to the U.S.: “I think of moving all the time. I told my husband after I was pregnant the first time that the first time my children felt racism or felt something violent in their face that that would be it, that we would relocate.”

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.
Rick Holter is KERA's vice president of news. He oversees news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News has earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.
Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and KERANews.org. She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.