Matthew Cassel is a freelance photographer and journalist from Chicago, recently based in Beirut and becoming, more and more so, a native of the Middle East. He has spent the last several years living and traveling around the region with his camera in hand, tightly gripped. He has captured main street political turning points as well as discreet moments of children playing in alleyways. In 2006, he co-founded a media school for youth in Balata refugee camp, West Bank, called Picture Balata that empowers youth to represent themselves through photography.
Cassel confronts times of hardship through his work. His personal ease and charm allow him to engage closely with the people and places he photographs and bring out in them these same qualities. From his time in Balata to his recent participation in the Egyptian revolution, it is clear that Cassel is not just there for the moment. Instead he inhabits each place with its people and cares to deliver justice to them through each image.
In these select images Cassel takes you with him to the streets to witness some of the protests, clashes, aftermath and moments of grace. They cover a range of incidences and settings, including: Balata Refugee Camp; 2007 Nahr El-Bared battle between Lebanese army and extremists from Fateh el Islam; 2008 Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip; Maqatam Zabaleen and the Recent Egyptian Revolution.