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Christian Als

MMW 11: Nov 2011

Christian Als was born in 1974 and grew up south of Copenhagen. He became interested in social, political and economic issues in the developing world after travelling extensively for a number of years. Wanting to document his experiences and surroundings, he enrolled at the Danish School of Journalism from where he graduated in 2006.

In his intrepid quest to visually explore a wide range of issues and events Christian has travelled to dozens of countries including Gaza, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China, DR Congo, Kenya, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria and India. His subjects range from war to underreported regions, to his own family.

Having completed an internship at the Danish daily newspaper Berlingske during his studies he joined the newspaper as a staff photographer after graduating and has covered many national and international events for the paper, most recently youth in Algeria and the situation in Eastern Libya.

Christian has won many awards for his work including two POYi awards, three recognitions in Best Of Photojournalism and Honorable Mentions at the 2008 and 2009 UNICEF Photo of the Year Awards. His work on Kibera slum in Nairobi was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet in 2011.

His work has been published in publications such as TIME, The New Yorker, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Independent, FOTO8, GEO, Stern, Der Spiegel, The Wall Street Journal, L'espresso, Internazionale and El Pais Semanal.

Christian Als is a member of Panos Pictures, as a Profile Photographer.

Christian participated in the November 2011 MediaStorm Storytelling Workshop. He had the following to say about his experience:

I chose this workshop mainly because it is a product oriented workshop. For a guy that usually throw away the manual as the first thing after getting a new gadget, the learning by doing atmosphere of this workshop just seemed right to me. So I arrived in New York with a wish of getting the skills needed to produce short documentary films, and hopefully feel more inspired than ever. I certainly did. Both. But what I couldn’t know was, that I would leave the city with amazing new friendships and the proudest feeling bubbling inside. Proud as hell of the piece we did as a team, and proud of myself for pushing the limits of what I thought possible as a visual storyteller. We created, did we!

I knew that MediaStorm is at the forefront of our business when it comes to narrative storytelling, but nonetheless I was surprised to see just how sharp these guys are on the narrative. Talent was abundant, and dedication was limitless. At MediaStorm the story is always at the center of everything, and they really want to share all their secrets. Any technique applied to the piece, being about sequencing, about workflow or about building the narrative, always happened with explanation and open-minded discussions.

It was intense, hard work and long nights. But also hilarious, mind-blowing and ecstatic. I had a blast!

Voice by Christian Als, Edith Champagne and Janine Boreland

Ian Willey had his first experience rhyming in second grade. Now at 28, Willey is pursuing his dream of becoming a hip hop artist. The motivation behind his rap comes from an unexpected place — 90 fifth grade students at a school in Harlem.