The thirty-year civil war – a chaotic period known as “The Troubles” – officially began in 1968 but the bubbling violence which marked it was laden with deep-rooted divisions. Indeed, the conflict could be said to have begun 800 years prior, when the Normans first invaded Ireland and heralded centuries of direct English rule. Abbas went there to photograph it, capturing both the conflict and the broader background of what was going on. Said Abbas: “The war was more tribal than it was religious. Very often you wonder why they’re fighting because culturally they’re the same people. Religion was important but it was secondary to the tribal aspects of the civil war.”

There are two ways to think about photography: one is writing with light, and the other is drawing with light.

© Abbas | Magnum Photos

Abbas was an Iranian transplanted to Paris. He dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict.

In a career that spanned six decades, he covered wars and revolutions in Iran, Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. He also documented life in Mexico over several years, and pursued a lifelong interest in religion and its intersection with society.

Most recently before his death, Abbas was working on documenting Judaism around the world. Abbas died in Paris on April 25, 2018. He was 74.

© Abbas | Magnum Photos

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