When I read about Alexandra Boulat I went searching for information on her short life. I found this image without a photo credit (credit added from comment below), so it's obviously by another photographer at a checkpoint somewhere in her travels. You can read about her on the VII Photo Website.
Photographers are a quirky bunch of people. Each one belongs to a group of similar photographers, usually by the type of photography they pursue and present to the world. Conflict photographers are in a class and value by themselves. And yes, I truly believe this. Who else when being personally searched and her equipment thoroughly inspected turn to the camera and smile with a sense of humor you see in her face?
These men are serious and everything there is serious. You don't (pardon the expression) fuck with these people or you will know what happens in no uncertain terms. But within the framework of it, Alexandra finds the humor of the situation to smile. While I can say I've had my taste with authority in my photography, it pales by a lot with any one of her experiences. I would be too cautious and anxious to stand there, especially with a smle.
I prefer the quiet solace of nature, more specifically Mount Rainier NP. The trails have very few people, and none with automatic weapons and armored vehicles ready to shoot and kill when necessary. And only rarely people in camoflage uniforms, such as the paramilitary people I met in the deserts of Arizona when I worked there with the USGS. But I will add they are spookier than soldiers.
That's because military people, generally, have orders and rules to follow in engagement and the use of force. Private paramilitary people don't and hearing gun shots ignites the senses - yes been there, done that. And while I've met some walking in the desert I've never had an encounter with them like Alexandra routinely did for her work. I give her far more courage than I'll ever imagine, let alone know.
Even in the street photography I also like to do, it's always in the daytime in cities where I'm not too far from the public. I'm not an extreme street photographer either. They're also their own group dedicated to the city environment and people. And occasionally their experience is not that different from a conflict photographer, just the place and events. It's the old adage, it's still about humanity or inhumanity, whichever is the situation.
And that's the beauty of photographers. It's the respect we have for the passion of our craft which inhabits the spirit and soul of every photographer that counts. It's the one constant, and each of us do what we can to do what we want. And the rest is just the world we live in to be there. It's our perspective, and hopefully with a sense of humor. After all, what else is there?