Project Transient website

I spoke to Anobel yesterday – Project Transient is now live!

Anobel has done a fantastic job on the website – check it out:

Some words from Anobel from the Project Transient site:

The Iraq war has displaced millions of Iraqis from their homes, and their stories have been largely neglected. The goal of this project was to better understand the plight of these refugees, their living conditions, their medical issues, their access to health care, and how the war has affected their lives, and document and share my findings using photography.

With the support and blessing of my medical school and the Areas of Concentration in Medical Humanities at UCSF, I spent the last three months of my fourth year of medical school in the Middle East, to study, learn, experience and photograph. I lived in Jaramana, a refugee camp a few kilometers outside Damascus, Syria, in a refugee health clinic established by the Assyrian General Conference. The clinic is a small two bedroom apartment that has been converted, the living room into a waiting room and one bedroom into a sparse examination room. I lived with Dr. Milad Youkhana in the second room and had the opportunity to see patients, integrate into the community, visit people’s homes, and hear their stories. I hope the documentary film and photos will raise awareness and inspire others to continue to work to help Iraqi refugees.

You can also follow the project on twitter.

Syria: Al Hasakah – Assyrian New Year & Machine Gun Man

After Dier Ez-Zur Anobel and I caught a bus to Hasakah, a town in north eastern Syria 50kms or so from the Iraq border.

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Why? To spend a few days exploring the Assyrian villages around Hasaka and experience all that is the Assyrian new year.

As our minibus got closer to Hasaka we were stopped a few times for ID/Passport checks. I hadn’t had a mid journey ID check in Syria so I guess it ust have had something to do with being close to Iraq.

This time we stopped at a checkpoint and our passports were given to a beedy-eyed fellow with a mounted machine gun in the back of his ute.
We got our passports back and the bus continued on its way only this time were were being followed, by the Machine Gun Man!

We arrived in Hasaka a little while later and were picked up by George, an assyrian mate of Anobel’s. A minute after getting into George’s car we were stopped by Machine Gun Man and poor George copped an interrogation. Why were these foreigners here, what were they doing, how do you know them, where are they from??? etc….

Anyway, for the rest of our time in Hasaka Mr MGM followed us around like a bad smell.


Anobel has a funny write up of our experience with MGM.

The trips out to the villages were interesting and the people were super friendly. Everyone had an interesting story of how they came to be there, many came after the massacre of Simele and farmed land outside Hasaka.

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The Assyrian new year was a great day spent out in the hills bout 25km from Hasaka. A bit of drinking (Arak), lots of food and the longest chain of people holding hands and dancing 🙂
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Syria: Damascus – a visit to the Iraqi refugee camp “Jaramana”

Due to an extreme case of self-diagnosed slackness I haven’t been hitting the streets taking too many pictures of what Damascus could possibly be like. Oh yes I’ve been in Damascus, the capital of Syria, for the past few days 🙂

(photo courtesy of

The other reason I blame my lack in getting some post/photos up is that I have a bit of a project going with my mate Anobel. No it’s not a helmut that looks like an afro, but a project Anobel is doing as part of his research project for his minor in Medical Humanities back in San Fran.

I arrived in Damascus and got in touch with Anobel and he seemed keen to get the ball rolling on some ideas we’d discussed back in Aleppo. The next day, thanks to GPS on my iPhone (Giant Party System – not the Global Position System that is illegal in Syria of course), I found myself in Jaramanah – a camp for Assyrian & Iraqi refugees. It has been a very eye opening experience so far and I feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work with Anobel on his project.

We shot a few interviews in a local clinic and people’s tiny flats as best we could with Anobel’s Canon 5d mk2 my my little Panasonic Lumix LX3. The mixture of formats, frame rates and available hardware has led me to converting all the video to Apple ProRes @ 720p30 – I figured he might eventually need to present his stuff on some sort of ntsc flavoured gear – and also the 30p stuff didn’t look so great converted down to 24p.

So here we are, in a little cafe in the Old City, smoking sheisha/hooka/hubblebubble etc.. and reviewing today’s clips.

Make sure to check out Anobel’s great blog & photography –

Stay tuned…