In watching the Arab Spring unfold from across the ocean, photography has been one of the few things that makes us realize the toll on individuals. Samuel Aranda brought the conflict to American audiences with his emotional photo of a mother finding her injured son in a field hospital in Yemen. After the photograph won the World Press Photo of the Year, Samuel Aranda wanted to know the mother and son’s own stories.
The day he took the photo while on assignment for the New York Times, he did not have time to find out who they were. The mother hadn’t even noticed Arandas. “I was sure that they would be amazing people, as are all the Yemeni people that I met here so far,” Aranda said in an e-mail.
This week, Aranda returned to Yemen to cover the elections for the New York Times. He spoke for the first time with Zayed Al-Qaws and his mother, Fatima, less than half a mile from Change Square. “After an hour talking to Fatima and Zayed, it became really emotional,” he said. “Zayed was explaining to me his dreams — he wants to be a doctor — and we thanked each other for what this photo did for the revolution.”
Aranda said he will be pursuing a project that shows points of connection between Western and Arab society.