Bronze 2019 / People / Portrait

Osama Bin Laden’S Mother, Alia Ghanem

  • Prizes
    Bronze in People/Portrait
  • Company
    David Levene Ltd
  • Photographer
    David Levene

Osama bin Laden’s mother, Alia Ghanem, photographed athome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 23rd June 2018 for The Guardian. Inside a spacious reception room at the family mansion and surrounded by framed photographs of her son, Ghanem describes Osama bin Laden as a man who is, to her, still a beloved son who somehow lost his way. He became a strong, driven, pious figure in his early 20s and then became radicalised, Ghanem says, while studying at University in Jeddah. “He was a very good child until he met some people who pretty much brainwashed him in his early 20s. You can call it a cult.”

David Levene is a freelance photographer based in London and has been working for the Guardian newspaper since 2001. His images, videos and multimedia regularly appear in the Guardian and on theguardian.com across news and features. Alongside this, David works regularly for variety of clients in visual and performing arts and has also worked with charities such as Oxfam, Medicins-Sans-Frontiers, Save The Children and Age International, documenting their projects around the world. David has had five solo exhibitions in London, most recently in May 2018.