Mohamed "mo" Amin:
l'uomo che nel 1984 ebbe lo straordinario merito di noleggiare un bimotore privato a sue spese ( e nei tempi delle sue ferie) per volare in Etiopia a filmare l'immane tragedia della devastante carestia che stava decimando quel popolo, e che divenne grazie a quelle scioccanti immagini una causa celebre con l'intervento di Bob Geldof e della sua Live Aid l'anno successivo.
Mohamed "mo" Amin - Etiopia 1984
He never left his camera wherever he went.
Having dropped out of school to do what he loved, photography, puzzled his parents. Mohamed Amin popularly known as the 'Man who moved the world', captured the most distressing images of the 1984 Ethiopian famine. The world responded in a great way and helped over 2 million Ethiopians who were starving.
But who was Mohamed Amin?
In an archive of more than four million images both still and moving, the story of Africa is clearly told, of its wonders, a chronicle of its wars, a record of its finest hours and of its utter follies. The archive is almost entirely the work of one man, Mohamed Amin, described as Africa’s greatest photojournalist. He was born in 1943 in Eastleigh Nairobi in Kenya. His father was a poor railway engineer of Indian descent. Mohamed Amin when he was young, taking photos. He is described as Africa's greatest photojournalist. Mohamed Amin when he was young, taking photos. He is described as Africa's greatest photojournalist.
"I come from a very poor family. I was never born on a bed of roses. Perhaps that is something in me that tries to get the message across more strongly, tries to understand other person’s suffering," the late Mohamed Amin’s statement (from the archive).
Mo as he was popularly known was obsessed with photography even as a boy. He saved up for two years to buy his first camera, a Box Brownie at the age of 11. He spent time snapping student activities and sold the pictures to his friends at a profit. At the age of 19, to everyone’s disbelief, he quit school and set up Camerapix Company. In a career spanning four decades, he covered almost every major news story on the continent. For Mo, getting the story first was not just a goal. It was an obsession. Salim Amin, Mohamed Amin’s son says, "He wanted to be first, he wanted to be the only one with the pictures. Many instances I heard from other journalists that he used extremely unethical methods in order to make sure that nobody else got the story except him." Patrick Muiruri, senior producer Reuters Television was his employee then, he says, "If anybody came close to even getting onto what he called his patch, then he would even explode even more." With this kind of obsession, Mo expected the same commitment to the job from those who worked for him. "During my wedding day I was on the street covering a riot because he told me, "Wedding can wait but news can’t wait,” says Abdulrahman Ramadhan, sound engineer and former Mo’s employee.The determination and focus were to earn Mo fame as Africa’s greatest photojournalist. Mohamed Amin with his wife Dolly and their only child Salim. According to Salim, he was an absent father due to his love for work. He could spend 7 to 8 months in a year without seeing him. Mohamed Amin with his wife Dolly and their only child Salim. According to Salim, he was an absent father due to his love for work. He could spend 7 to 8 months in a year without seeing him. "Mohamed Amin was able to scoop every journalist for three major reasons. One simple enough, Mohamed Amin never left his camera wherever he went. Secondly, he was a born journalist and thirdly he knew what constituted a good newsworthy picture," says Joe Kadhi, former managing editor, Nation Newspapers in Kenya. In July 5 1969 Kenyan politician Tom Mboya was gunned down as he left a pharmacy in the city Centre Nairobi and within minutes Mo was at the scene. "I remember he was offering the editor exclusive pictures. When we looked at those pictures, it was impossible for us to believe what kind of pictures they were. They showed Tom Mboya dying," recalls Joe Kadhi. Mohamed (holding a camera) in Ethiopia in 1984. He captured the most grueling images of people languishing in famine. His photos touched many people around the world and many helped the Ethiopians. Mohamed (holding a camera) in Ethiopia in 1984. He captured the most grueling images of people languishing in famine. His photos touched many people around the world and many helped the Ethiopians. The images secured Mo's reputation as a photojournalist of note and won him his very first cameraman of the year award. But more exclusives were soon to follow. He captured world's greatest events including the brutal reign of Uganda's Iddi Amin and the 1984 Ethiopian famine, which received unprecedented response from all over the world. As a result of this, the world wanted to see the man whose images had moved many. Mo found himself mixing with some of the most famous and influential people on the planet. Salim Amin, "for the Ethiopian famine he received dozens of international television awards. In almost every continent on earth, he was honored." The secret behind Mo’s successes was connections. He made a point of knowing people in ALL the right places.
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