In this dialogue Sebastian and I have a transparent conversation about making connections through preserving human dignity and seeing people for all that they are and not what they are expected to be portrayed as.
Sebastian was dyslexic as a child and now is a world-renowned photographer who focuses on capturing some of the most sensitive, inspiring and heart-wrenching moments in our current history. He has a powerful message for those who do not fit into the boxes provided to them.
Sebastian’s photos capture hopes and sorrows all in one shot. He is based in Cyprus but was in lockdown in Devon, England at the time of this interview. He brings his whole self to our conversation from an award-winning camera man to a survivor of multiple kidnaps and gun-wounds to a father who still seeks to find balance in his life.
We talk about compassion, empathy and sympathy. What we need more of and what we need to leave at home when we are trying to be helpful to others.
About Sebastian Rich
Sebastian Rich has been a photographer /cameraman in hard news, documentary and current affairs all his working life. He joined Independent Television News (UK) in 1980 and developed a gift for being in the right place at the right time on some of the world’s biggest breaking news stories; he gained a reputation not just as an uncompromising cameraman in the theatre of war but also as an insightful and highly talented photographer.
Jon Snow the highly regarded British television journalist, describes Sebastian in the forward of his first book ‘People I Have Shot’ as(“Probably the finest news cameraman and photographer of his time… his camera work is amongst the most sensitive I have ever witnessed” Jon Snow, Channel 4 News)
NBC News describes Sebastian as:
“The consummate professional, a seasoned veteran combat photographer.
He also recently received high acclaim and an award from the ‘Rory Peck Foundation’ for his work with U.S. Marine bomb disposal teams in Afghanistan.
Sebastian was honored with the prestigious Royal Television Society’s Cameraman of the Year award for his dramatic pictures of war and famine throughout Africa. Over the years he has been the personal cameraman to some of British television’s most highly respected journalists – Martin Bell, Jon Snow, Kate Adie, Sandy Gall, Trevor McDonald, and many American Network anchor. During his career Sebastian has filmed and photographed every major war and conflict: El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, The Gulf, Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq.He has been wounded several times, kidnapped and held hostage while on assignment in Beirut. One of the characteristics of Sebastian’s work is the poignant images of suffering children worldwide that he portrays most vividly in his footage and photographs. He left ITN in 1993 to pursue a freelance career as a photographer /cameraman, dividing his time between international television networks, independent film productions and print media.Sebastian is a favoured cameraman/ photographer with the French NGO Medicins Sans Frontiers, Save the Children, World Wildlife Foundation and United Nations Agencies, predominantly UNICEF/UNHCR. During the war in Iraq Sebastian was ‘embedded’ with the 2nd Battalion 8th Marines (USMC) a.k.a. ‘America’s Battalion” for the entire duration of hostilities. Sebastian is still documenting for numerous clients the subsequent ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The United States Marine Corps gave Sebastian a honourable mention in ‘Dispatches’ for“An outstanding cool head under fire” and was awarded a ‘Combat Citation’
Sebastian has just finished his second book ‘Where Fools Rush In’ ( The Death of News)