Ivor Prickett

A woman sits in the rubble in the aftermath of the Battle of Mosul in 2017, by Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
"This is a picture of Nadhira Rasoul, an Iraqi woman in the city of Mosul that I took in September 2017," explains Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett. "I took this picture as part of a story I was working on for The New York Times, about the work Iraqi Civil Defense workers were doing in helping people find the remains of their loved ones who were killed during the battle for Mosul. Nadhira had lost two of her family members when her house was hit by an airstrike. This was her sitting, engulfed in dust, watching the workers look for the bodies." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 1/1250 sec, f/8 and ISO250. © Ivor Prickett/The New York Times

Irish photojournalist and Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett spends extensive periods of time in the war zones he documents, producing hard-hitting yet quietly contemplative images showing conflict and its aftermath across the Middle East.

Although Ivor now works largely for the The New York Times, his work has appeared in a multitude of major magazines and newspapers, including The Sunday Times Magazine, Telegraph Magazine, Stern, GEO, and National Geographic. He has also exhibited his work in prestigious venues such as the National Portrait Gallery, The Getty Gallery, Side Gallery, The Annenberg Space for Photography, Sotheby's, and the Edinburgh International Festival. "In many ways my work has always sat somewhere between a more gallery-oriented style of documentary photography and photojournalism," Ivor says. "I think that is why it stands out and is in some way unique."

Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett.

Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Specialist areas: Photojournalism
Favourite Kit:
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II USM

Ivor spent most of his childhood growing up in the quiet countryside of County Cork, Ireland, before his family moved nearer to the country's bustling capital of Dublin when he was 10. He first became curious about photography during his later school years, realising through his art studies that photography had become his favoured medium of self expression. At 19, Ivor emigrated across the Irish Sea to study documentary photography at the University of South Wales in the UK. "I realised that I wanted to tell stories, specifically stories of people," he recalls. "My interest in photojournalism and war photography was born out of an interest in history and the way in which conflict affects people who are caught up in it."

In 2006, shortly after graduating at the age of 23, Ivor moved to London for three years where he worked as a freelance photographer shooting for a range of publications, and spent a lot of his time extensively travelling in the Balkans where he completed several long-term projects. In 2009 Ivor relocated to the Middle East, photographing conflict and the aftermath of war. "I moved out there because it gave me a huge advantage both in terms of understanding the region more, which informs your work, and also being strategically placed to pick up assignments and to react quickly to breaking stories - essential when you're starting out."

Civilians in Mosul in 2017 lining up to receive aid, taken by Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
"This is a picture of civilians who were lining up to receive aid in a recently liberated area of Mosul in March of 2017," says Ivor. "They had been living under siege as the war to defeat ISIS raged around them. It was the first aid they had received from outside in months. I took this image, while I was embedded with Iraqi forces, as part of a story for The New York Times about the battle for Mosul." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 1/250 sec, f/8 and ISO400. © Ivor Prickett/The New York Times

Ivor started in Damascus, Syria, and stayed for a year; then Beirut, Lebanon, for two years during the Arab Spring uprisings. Later came Egypt and then Libya, and all the while he was completing assignments for various newspapers and magazines, as well as personal projects. In 2012 Ivor relocated to Istanbul, Turkey, where he's been based ever since. From 2014 to 2016 his work has extensively chartered the plight of Syrian refugees, first in the Middle East, and later in Europe. Since 2016 he has worked exclusively for The New York Times covering the fight to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

"As soon as you set foot in a war zone your life is at risk," says Ivor, who has been in more than his fair share of dangerous situations. "Of course the risk within that environment varies hugely but it doesn't really matter; as soon as you are there, you are at risk. Most of the time if you have a close call the only reason you survive is because of pure luck. You can do certain things to mitigate the risk you expose yourself to, but at the end of day if a bullet or a mortar is coming your way there is little you can do about it."

The aftermath of an ISIS suicide car bomb targeting Iraqi special forces lines in east Mosul, by Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
"This is a picture of the immediate aftermath of an ISIS suicide car bomb that targeted Iraqi special forces lines in an area of east Mosul, in January 2017," Ivor explains. "I took this picture as part of a story for The New York Times about the liberation of the eastern side of Mosul." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 1/160 sec, f/11 and ISO400. © Ivor Prickett/The New York Times

With great risk has come great reward, as Ivor's work has been recognised with a bounty of international prizes including a first prize World Press Photo Contest award in the General News, Stories, category in 2018. This is in addition to citations in both the Pulitzers and Overseas Press Club awards, multiple Pictures of the Year International awards, The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, and The Ian Parry Scholarship.

But it's not adulation that drives him: "In the midst of conflict it is always civilians who bear the brunt of the violence and I am passionate about shedding light on what that means and how that affects people. On the front lines there often isn't a third party to witness what's going on, just the warring parties and the people caught in its midst. So it's vital to document what's going on or if it's years after the fact it's just as important, when the news has moved on, to highlight the struggles people are going through in the aftermath. This is what drives me. I have an obligation to be a conduit for people's stories when they have no other way of telling the world."

A young boy rescued from an ISIS stronghold by Iraqi forces, by Canon Ambassador Ivor Prickett on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
"This a picture of a young boy that was rescued from the last ISIS stronghold in the Old City of Mosul," says Ivor. "He was one of the last survivors I saw coming out of the Old City, during this final bloody phase of the war. I took this image, while I was embedded with Iraqi forces, as part of a story for The New York Times about the final weeks of fighting and the massive destruction it caused." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 1/5000 sec, f/7.1 and ISO1600. © Ivor Prickett/The New York Times

Once in an area of conflict, how do you decide where to go and what to shoot?

"I first evaluate what the key elements for the story I want to tell are. I am usually interested in the civilian aspect of a conflict, so will look for the best ways to cover that element of the story. That informs my decision making process on where to go and what to do. Usually that requires being embedded with a military force in order to get to the places where civilians are trapped or trying to flee from."

What effect do you hope your work has on people?

"My first aim when covering a conflict is to act as a documentarian to create an unbiased record of what is going on, particularly the effect the war is having on civilians caught in its midst. That is something I know I can do and have control over. What that achieves is in many ways up to the viewer."

How concerned are you for your safety?

"I worry every minute when I am working in a conflict situation. It would be crazy if I didn't. It's important to listen to that worry because that is your natural limitation kicking in. If I am incredibly worried about a certain situation, it usually is for a good reason and that means I won't move forward. The challenge is to be constantly aware of that fear and decide how far you can push it. I only choose to continue working in conflict zones now while working for The New York Times because as an organisation they support me fully on the ground and we follow very strict protocols in order to mitigate the risk."

How do you cope with witnessing atrocities?

"It is important to take time off in the wake of a tough assignment to relax and let your mind rest. It can be very hard and requires a lot of discipline to get into a healthy routine when you come home. I do it with plenty of exercise, lots of sleep and eating well."

Instagram: @ivorprickett

One Thing I Know
Ivor Prickett

"In the midst of conflict it's hard not to be compelled by what you see. The challenge is to be able to have the clarity of vision and remain calm in order to be able to translate what it feels like to be there and to get people's stories across. It takes a lot of practice but when you are at that point, your skills as a photographer should automatically kick in and instead of worrying about technical things, you just use your heart and your eyes to see what the most compelling aspects of a certain scene are. So ultimately it is more important to be emotionally connected to the story than be a technically good photographer."

Ivor Prickett's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Ivor Prickett's kitbag


Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Trusted by the pros, tough and yet relatively light, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is ideal for stills or video – making it great for reportage. "I like the 5D series because the cameras are compact yet durable and produce excellent RAW files that I don't need to do very much to in post production," says Ivor.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Ivor's back-up camera is the predecessor to the popular Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. "I still use my Canon 5D Mark III in certain situations because it produces really nice files in low light situations," reveals Ivor. "There is something about a camera that you have used for a long time – it's hard to let go of it."


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

This standard wide-angle lens is beloved by reportage photographers for its natural perspective, low-light capability and extraordinary optical performance. "This is my 'go to' lens for reportage. It's amazingly sharp and works so well in low light conditions," enthuses Ivor.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

This professional-quality standard zoom offers outstanding image quality and a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout its zoom range, making it the perfect companion to any full-frame EOS camera. "This is an incredible lens for fast-paced situations. Although it is a zoom lens, it is incredibly sharp and still works well in low-light conditions," Ivor says.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

With its incredible f/1.2 maximum aperture, this lens is a consummate low-light performer. "This is an amazing piece of glass," Ivor says. "I love to use this lens when doing portraits or if I want to work more discreetly. It's so compact and the f/1.2 aperture really comes in useful when working in dark situations. It's an absolutely essential piece of kit to have."


Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

Engineered for fast frame-rate shooting, and usable off-camera or in the HotShoe, this flash's versatility allows you to take complete control over light. "Although I don't use flash very often in my work, my Speedlite is always in my kit bag just in case," says Ivor. "It's an amazingly intuitive flash that needs very little adjustment to get right."


A must-have for every photojournalist's kitbag, for recording the names and locations of images.

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