An Interesting Encounter – Karim Ben Khalife

EpistrophyLast week, I worked on my blog from Epistrophy Café in Nolita. A gentlemen sat beside me on the communal table and we engaged in conversation; one that turned out to be fascinating.

Karim is a photojournalist that travelled all around the world (including Lebanon) documenting  areas of conflict. Since I belong to the fourth generation of Lebanese people who have known war, we had loads to talk about.

Karim bestI found out later that he is a Nieman fellow at Harvard & will become a resident at the MIT Media lab in 2014. In addition, he is the CEO and founder of EMPHAS.IS, the quickstarter for documentaries.

“99% of the things you see are hand-picked by the big guys. This platform gives you freedom to choose what you want to watch by directly  backing up the journalists.” – it’s called ‘Crowdfund Visual Journalism’.


Karim took a picture of me with an effort to re-create the effect of this picture (right). You might recognise Carlo who works at the café – He prepares your coffee with love while he sings his favourite Italian songs.

I’m always fascinated by people who live on the edge. When I asked Karim about the dangers of being a photojournalist, he smiled, took another drag on his cigarette and answered by quoting Jacques Brel:

“La vie c’est dangereux, la preuve on en meurs” 

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