Irene Abdou can help you make a difference by telling visual stories of extraordinary people in extraordinary places, who are simply hoping for a better tomorrow.
Irene has 15 years of experience working in the developing world from Africa to Asia. When joining the Peace Corps in 1995, she had a vision of learning to play the handdrums and walking barefoot in African sand, all while helping people in need. During her 3 1/2 years living in a mud hut with no electricity or running water in Niger, what she learned instead was that the ground was too hot to walk barefoot on and that Africa is a big, diverse place. She also came to the realization that she had in fact probably gained more from her Peace Corps service than she had given. But most importantly, she learned that people all over the world share the same hope…the hope for a better tomorrow. She saw a common spirit of humanity.
After Peace Corps, Irene worked in humanitarian aid and international development, designing and managing food security and public health programs in Africa and Asia for a number of NGOs and USAID contractors, including Population Services International (PSI) and the American Red Cross. For two years, Irene and her husband lived in a tent in Southern Sudan, where Irene worked as the Malaria Technical Advisor for PSI. Most recently in her NGO career, Irene served as PSI’s Deputy Regional Director for West & Central Africa.
In 2007, Irene began a transition into a second career as a professional photographer, eventually leaving PSI to focus full-time on photography. Today, Irene works as an NGO photographer, helping NGOs make a difference by telling visual stories of extraordinary people in extraordinary places, who are simply hoping for a better tomorrow. The untold story. The unheard story. The story that needs awareness.
Irene also works as a stock and fine art photographer, and teaches private photography lessons and group workshops. She has translated her first love of humanitarian and cultural photography into helping people here at home remember their most special moments through portrait, wedding, and event photography. She specializes in fusing fine art and photojournalism to create images that are simply…unforgettable.
Since 2007, Irene’s photography has been recognized and/or published by numerous international NGOs, magazines and other publishers; national and international photographic associations; and commercial art galleries and art consulting firms. She also received a Creative Projects Grant from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County for cultural documentary photography. Her work has been described as “strikingly beautiful,” “haunting,” “thought-provoking,” and having “the eye that makes the ordinary simply extraordinary.”
Irene is available for assignments in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and around the world, and would be happy to work with you according to your unique needs. She speaks French and Fulfulde fluently, in addition to intermediate Djerma (both languages of West Africa), and beginning Juba Arabic.
Travel. Cultures. NGOs. Humanitarian assistance. International development. West Africa. Francophone Africa. Muslim/Islamic Africa. Fulani/Fula/Peul/Peule and Dinka ethnic groups. Burkina Faso. Niger. Nigeria. Mali. Guinea. Senegal. Benin. Southern Sudan. Tunisia. Food security. Food aid. Public health. Malaria. Safe water and diarrheal diseases. Nutrition. Child development. Family planning. Reproductive health. HIV/AIDS. African cultures. African music/song/dancing/arts.