Blog Articles

  1. Nov 04

    Tough Situations in Difficult Countries

    Continuing to chat about the personal introduction chapter, the other thing that drew me to cover tough situations in difficult countries undergoing change was that like many American immigrants the Armenian side of my family had experienced some rather challenging events before coming to the United States. My family had…

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  2. Oct 28

    Born Into Art

    Now I'll move on to the personal intro of the book, but these photos are not in it. This is a self-portrait of my dad in the New York City subway at Penn Station, taken in the 1950s before I was born. He was a photographer and TV editor then;…

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  3. Oct 17


    Also in the front-of-the-book essay is this photo of a Savannah, Georgia, mosque that was burned to the ground in an arson attack in the summer of 2003. The attack followed threatening letters and gunshots fired at the mosque in the night. Muslim Americans were under quite a lot of…

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  4. Oct 17


    I’ve been to Egypt several times, snorkeling in the Red Sea, sailing the Nile down to Luxor and Aswan, visiting the lake at Fayyoum, the Pyramids, and Cairo. The women in this picture from the photo essay at the front of the book were waiting for a bus in Cairo.…

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  5. Oct 16


    Though based in Moscow, I traveled widely in Iraq after the first Gulf War and returned in 1999 to cover Iraq’s problem with looted archaeology. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a difficult, miserable, fear-soaked universe crawling with informants. People could not even trust family members, much less neighbors. A child might…

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  6. Oct 14

    Book Extras

    The photo essay at the front of the book is a way of telling the reader that you are going to visit many places in the pages of my book. I couldn’t resist including Iraq, Egypt, and Morocco, although they would not fit into the book as chapters in and…

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  7. Oct 10

    Scenes From a Set

    This picture was taken on a movie set on Kish Island, Iran, in the Persian Gulf. The Islamic Republic was using Kish as a social testing ground for mild liberalization at that time. The director was the dissident Bahram Beyzaii. This is his wife, actress Mozhdeh Shamsai . I was…

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  8. Sep 29

    Windows of the Soul

    Windows of the Soul is about my journeys in the Muslim world during 17 years of my 25-year career. I’ve defined "the Muslim world" as anywhere I worked on Muslim-related stories, from Kyrgystan to California. The book doesn't cover all the other parts of the world and types of stories…

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Featuring presentations and interviews by veteran National Geographic photographers Alexandra Avakian and Sam Abell

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