Hamideddine Bouali was 50 years old, and back then he was an amateur photographer. Accustomed to exclusively taking pictures of Sidi Bou Saïd, the Medina or tennis matches, his approach to photography would forever change with the events of that day.
Hamideddine did not consider himself an activist, but like thousands of other Tunisians, he nevertheless decided to join the demonstrations on Habib Bourguiba Avenue against the Ben Ali regime. As soon as he arrived in the city centre, he got his camera out and started to immortalise this historical day up close.
In front of the Ministry of the Interior, he took several photos of the demonstrators, equipped with flags and signs.
Noticing that he had barely any space left on his memory card, the photographer headed home in the direction of Bab El Khadra where he ran into a human tsunami. It was the funeral procession of Helmi, the 23-year-old who had been killed by the police the day before. The chanting from the demonstrators started mixing with the prayers of the funeral procession.
Moved by the scene, Hamideddine started taking pictures, but was unable to capture the scene properly from inside the crowd. He noticed a young man watching the scene from his balcony and asked if he could come up to his apartment to find the right angle. The latter accepted, and Hamideddine used the little space left on his memory card to immortalise the funeral procession from above - which at the time was on route to Habib Bourguiba Avenue where the police violence would kick off only moments after its arrival.
January 14 profoundly transformed Hamideddine's passion for photography, which has since become his profession. On that day, for the first time in his life, photography became political. His pictures immortalised emotional and significant moments. This is an audio account of unforgettable images.
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