Zied Ben Romdhane

6x6 Africa Talent: Zied Ben Romdhane, Tunisia

“Zied is a documentary photographer who is using aesthetics in a tasteful way to invite the audience to his stories. His work is not pushing facts but instead he uses careful compositions that leaves room for the viewer to reflect on the images and their content.” - Rebecca Simons, Finland, independent curator, editor, educator and 6x6 nominator

Zied Ben Romdhane is a Tunisian photographer. He won the POPCAP award in 2015, and his work has been featured in Irada and Dégage. He is the Director of ‘Photography of Fallega’ (2011), a documentary film about the Arab Spring in Tunisia.Romdhane was also a participant in World Press Photo’s 2013 Reporting Change initiative.

West of Life

In Gafsa, a phosphate mining region in the southwest of Tunisia, a state-controlled company called ‘CPG’ extracts phosphate from the hills. Mining, an important economic resource to the Tunisian economy, has been practiced since Roman times. The phosphate mining now accounts for nearly four percent of the Gross Domestic Profit (GDP). The local mining villages of Redayef, Mettlaoui, and Oumm Laarayes are rich in resources, but marginalized by the government. They remain poor and polluted, a conduit for wealth. Meanwhile, coastal towns prosper. During the French occupation workers lured from Libya, Morocco, Algeria and around Tunisia lived on this nearly uninhabitable land. Ethnic divisions, exacerbated by life in a harsh landscape, have produced disharmony between the people and nature. These incompatible parts remain in a state of constant flux and volatility. This is a testimony of the harshness of the place, balanced by the humor of the inhabitants and the photographer’s affection for them.

Children of the moon

Xeroderma Pigmentosum, or XP, is a genetic disorder that affects the ability of skin cells to repair the damage done by ultraviolet (UV) light. This means that UV light can easily cause burns, cancers, and other skin malignancies. In extreme cases, those suffering from XP have to avoid exposure to even the smallest amount of sunlight, and even be wary of artificial sources of UV light— such as neon tubes and some energy-saving fluorescent lamps. Cancers caused by XP usually develop between the ages of two and 10. Without protection from the sun, a patient is 4,000 times more likely to develop skin cancer than other children. Life expectancy of those who live without protection is less than 20 years. The condition is caused by a recessive gene, which means that both parents must have the gene for XP to manifest itself in their children. The incidence of XP in newborn babies worldwide is one in every 300,000, while in Tunisia it is one in 10,000, and in some regions of the country up to one in 100. Part of the reason for this is thought to be intermarriage between cousins, which is still traditional practice in some areas. Lack of public awareness of the disease is also a contributing factor.

Discover work by the 6x6 Africa talents, and find out about 6x6’s nomination and selection process.