Loulou d'Aki has spent the last few years documenting life inside Gaza. When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge last month, the Swedish freelance photographer started using Instagram to share the "horrific, emotional, sad and appalling stories" she encounters
Pillar of smoke rises from the port, hit in an early morning airstrike #gaza, July 29, 2014
Welcome to this week’s edition of TIME’s LightBox Follow Friday, a series where we feature the work of photographers who are using Instagram in new and engaging ways. Each week we will introduce you to the person behind the feed through his or her pictures and an interview with the photographer.
This week on #LightBoxFF, TIME spoke with Loulou d’Aki (@dakiloulou), a Swedish freelance photographer who uses Instagram to show the world the “horrific, emotional, sad and appalling stories” she encounters on a daily basis in Gaza.
LightBox: What is the purpose of your feed?
Loulou d’Aki: I see Instagram as a picture diary, which means that its purpose varies a little bit according to the location. While in Gaza, for instance, the purpose of me being here is purely journalistic, so the feed naturally becomes as well, although I always tend to post more private and globally less important moments as well. I take all my Instagrams with an iPhone and I love how easy it is to snap pictures this way. The phone is a lightweight, tiny object I can carry in my pocket at all times as opposed to my Hasselblad or my SLR. I like the fact that I can always take a picture when something comes my way, even when I step out for a morning run. I think the use of Instagram is creatively quite liberating. It’s so simple.
Shishaya during a 12-hour ceasefire, July 26, 2014
LB: How are you using Instagram while in Gaza? Why did you choose to show these images on Instagram?
Loulou d’Aki: I use Instagram in Gaza as I would use it anywhere else. I post pictures from locations where I’ve been working, of people I’ve photographed, on stories I’m working on, but also simply of what I see when I wake up in the morning, of friends and colleagues, etc.
However, the Gaza strip is inaccessible for most people and I do feel a bigger urge for this feed to reach out in order to tell what’s going on over here right now. I come across horrific, emotional, sad and appalling stories every day in the strip. I would like the feed to have an impact, for it to inform.
Blood on a stretcher at Nasser hospital morgue in Khan Yonis, southern Gaza Strip, July 24, 2014
LB: How has Instagram become a part of your professional workflow?
Loulou d’Aki: When on assignments or working on personal projects, I use Instagram to document what I do, to show how my work progresses. It amuses me, at times, when I take a picture [with my traditional camera] that I like, to take one with my phone as well and vice versa.
LB: When did you hit your stride with Instagram? Was there a moment, a project or an image where you crossed a threshold, and your perspective on the platform changed?
Loulou d’Aki: I’ve been using Instagram since December last year. I decided to try it simply because I got a brand new iPhone and because I was curious to try something many of my friends – photographers – were already using. I’ve always liked the idea of daily pictures instead of a written diary and I suppose that’s what I’m doing with Instagram. My feed’s contents vary depending on my whereabouts.
Across from the morgue, babies are born. Gaza, July 21, 2014
See more from TIME’s #LightBoxFF series here