The Human Story: Interview with Vince Bevan

For Day 5 of the Conflict Memory & Education programme, I was lucky enough to interview Vince Bevan.

He has an impressive portfolio of work especially from across the UK and his clients for commercial work. However, throughout his photography career, he has self-funded trips to conflict zones and produced some stunning work.

You often hear people say it’s the human story or connection that matters. But too often we only see the fighter or the weary refugees fleeing the fighting make the news bulletins. Photographers can be more selective in their images but not always if driven by deadlines.

However, there are still people who self-fund travel to conflict zones and go in search of the human story. These are images of people who are fighting for their homes or very existence. The people left behind or who refuse to leave their home or business. It’s easy to ask why they haven’t left the conflict zone, but ask yourself, if you were born in that house or had recently taken out a loan to set up your hair salon, would you?

I was very keen to discuss the connection with people he clearly demonstrates across his body of work, both overseas and here in the UK. You can see he enjoys talking with people, taking his time to know their story before getting to work with his camera.

I’ve recorded an interview with Vince that you can view by clicking the link below as we discuss several conflicts that he covered over the last 30 years including:

  • Bosnian War – Mostar (1993)
  • East Timor (Mar/Apr 1999) – the eve of Independence
  • The Karen – Myanmar (Burma) (2004)
  • War in Donbas, Ukraine (2014)

In the conversation on East Timor, I mention his image of FALANTIL Commander, Cornelio Gama with some of his guerrilla force. It appears on the front cover of Michael L. Gross’s book, The Ethics of Insurgency – A Critical Guide to Just Guerilla War.

‘As insurgencies rage, a burning question remains: how should insurgents fight technologically superior state armies? Commentators rarely ask this question because the catchphrase ‘we fight by the rules, but they don’t’ is nearly axiomatic. But truly, are all forms of guerrilla warfare equally reprehensible? Can we think cogently about just guerrilla warfare? May guerrilla tactics such as laying improvised explosive devices (IEDs), assassinating informers, using human shields, seizing prisoners of war, conducting cyber strikes against civilians, manipulating the media, looting resources, or using nonviolence to provoke violence prove acceptable under the changing norms of contemporary warfare? The short answer is ‘yes’, but modern guerrilla warfare requires a great deal of qualification, explanation, and argumentation before it joins the repertoire of acceptable military behavior.’

You get a sense from Vince’s photos that people knew the Independence vote was important but it was only the beginning. Violence would again return to East Timor later that year. They still fight to this day.

Here are the links to Vince’s website:


War in Donbas

I strongly recommend that people view/listen to this multimedia presentation, to gain some insight into the intensity of the bombing that the civilian population experiences daily by remaining in their homes.– War in Donbas

East Timor – Eve of Independence

Mostar, Bosnia June 1993

The Karen (Burma / Myanmar)

Post-pandemic I have plans in development for a large exhibition with Vince here in Leicester. I look forward to bringing that to you all. His work needs to be seen.


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