Photo: Patrick-Tombola

What Journalists Carry on the Front Lines: Patrick Tombola, Middle East

Middle East Travel Ambassadors
by Cengiz Yar Jr. Nov 20, 2013
Matador is teaming up with the FFR1 to show you what conflict and foreign freelancers carry with them on assignments.

PATRICK TOMBOLA is a multimedia photographer and videojournalist who concentrates on long-term personal projects and editorial work in the Middle East. Over the past 2 years, he has covered the ongoing uprising in Egypt, the war in Gaza, the Syrian conflict, and the turmoil in Turkey.

Portrait of Tombola

He has been shortlisted at Lumix Festival, Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation, FOTO8, and Head On Festival, amongst others, and has exhibited his work in Italy, England, Australia, and France. He has been published in Die Zeit, L’Espresso, Globalpost, NDR TV, The Telegraph, Deutsche Welle, Le Parisienne, The Germans, and many other outlets.

His studies in political economy and law have strongly influenced his ethics, journalistic approach, and passion for social justice. In video and photography, he has found both a vehicle for mass communication and one of personal introspection.

You can view recent work from Patrick on his site and follow updates from him on Twitter. Here’s a look at the gear he carries in the field:

  • 13″ MacBook Air — the lighter, the better
  • Hasselblad Xpan panoramic film camera
  • Canon 5D MKIII
  • 35mm 1.4 lens
  • 24-105 f4
  • Canon flash 580EX
  • Mamiya 6
  • GoPro silver edition
  • Rode Videomic Pro
  • Rode NTG 1
  • Zoom H4N
  • Adata 750g external hard drive x 2
  • Tons of medium format and 35mm film — always Fuji 400 and 160
  • Underwater DSLR case
  • Inmarsat satellite phone — calls are cheaper than one would think, 50c per minute worldwide
  • RISC first aid pack
  • Medicine bag
  • Mummy linen
  • Long-haul pack containing: blowup pillow, head torch, headphones, ear plugs, eye patches, sleeping tablets, mini
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Camel bag — where I go lots of water is a must
  • Kindle — hundreds of books on the go

Tombola's gear spread out

1The Frontline Freelance Register (FFR) is a representative body for freelancers, created and run by freelancers. It is an independent, ring-fenced entity which sits within the Frontline Club Charitable Trust with membership open to all freelance journalists working in conflict or foreign reporting. The FFR’s core objective is to support the physical and mental well-being of freelance journalists. In a world where staff jobs and fully paid foreign assignments are increasingly scarce, foreign and war reporting is dominated by freelancers, many of whom are deeply committed professionals doing outstanding work. At the same time, many of these freelancers lack the institutional support and the financial means to adequately manage the challenges of operating in dangerous environments in the long term. They also lack organised representation, often leaving them at the mercy of powerful media groups. FFR aims to help freelancers by providing them with a forum, a representative body, and a critical mass to face some of these challenges.

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