Steve Sabella is no stranger to conflict. The 31-year-old Palestinian photographer, who was born in the Old City of Jerusalem, graduated high school during the First Intifada and was once kidnapped while working on assignment. But, despite being surrounded with uncertainty Sabella thinks art, like photograpy, gives hope to his country's future. "I think that Palestinians like art," he said. "If they had more art it would be easier living here; if there is more art it helps society during difficult times." After graduating high school Sabella was unsure of what career path to take. "I didn't know what to do with myself," he said. "It's hard when you graduate during the First Intifada."
But, Sabella turned to childhood memories of his father and cameras. "When I was a child I picked up a camera (because) my father always had cameras," he said. Sabella enrolled in the Jerusalem School of Photography and graduated with a degree in Art Photography. He began taking pictures professionally in 1998 and has since worked for the United Nations and NGO's across Palestine. The award winning photographer has exhibited his work, known for its sensitivity, in several solo and group exhibitions in countries across the world including Italy, Canada and the United States. At times Sabella's work has put him in precarious situations. While on assignment for the United Nations in Gaza City's beach front area Sabella and a co-worker were forced into their government vehicle and kidnapped at gunpoint on a busy road. The kidnappers held the two hostage in a house in northern Gaza while setting fire to the surrounding streets and alleyways. Sabella's was later released safely after negotiations were held with the kidnappers. But, despite his own dark experiences and growing up under occupation, Sabella chooses to focus on beauty. "Only now I understand why you photograph so beautifully," Sabella said one of his photography teachers told him after meeting his young daughter. "I really believe in my art and I think that is why I have been successful." Sabella is currently compiling an art photography book and hopes to travel to London to earn a masters degree in photography.