Meet the hot stars of 2008

Talent issue - the photographer: Alixandra Fazzina

Alixandra Fazzina has spent a decade chronicling war, violence, misery and distress, mainly in Africa and the Middle East. The 33-year-old has photographed the notorious Lord's Resistance Army and their victims in Uganda, the Miya-Miya rebels in Congo, and is currently working on a story about people-smuggling from Ethiopia and Somalia to the Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month wrongly thought to be an informer she was shot at by her subjects.

Her childhood in England was full of cameras, which her father collected. But she first turned seriously to photography in Bosnia, where she travelled as an official war artist, after studying fine art at Bristol. "I was bumming around Sarajevo and started to use a camera to record things."

After Bosnia she travelled to Sierra Leone, where her enduring interest in Africa was born. "I try to find subjects that no one is covering," she says. "People are in desperate situations but they're not necessarily desperate. What matters most is that a photograph is honest if you can draw people in and make them look twice, then maybe they'll have to address some of the issues."

She started off preferring black and white but now that she's shooting more colour her work is becoming more "painterly". She uses natural light in her pictures and Rembrandt and Caravaggio are inspirations; she admires "the work of pure photographers such as Joseph Koudelka and Cartier-Bresson".

She admits she's a bit of a tomboy "I always liked the idea of being a Lee Miller/Martha Gellhorn sort of person" and although she has a house in Yemen, she says that she lives in constant transit.

Alixandra Fazzina's first photography book will be published next year by Trolley Books

Portrait by Jehad Nga

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