I have wanted to be a photojournalist for most of my life. There is something transformational that happens to me when I am standing behind the camera in the midst of uncertain situations.

The recent FTAA demonstration in Quebec City is a case in point. By no means did it resemble a combat situation; however, I felt comfortable trying to capture the moment on film. In fact, I was able to judge which situations to shoot, and when, with some degree of professionalism.

I believe that I am a good photographer and consider the work I did in Quebec City, as well as for the Humber School for Writers, The School of Comedy, and The Screenwriters' Workshop to be a good representation of what I'm capable of producing.

In addition, throughout high school and university, I took pictures at concerts and raves. Several have appeared in underground music publications, on the walls of area record shops, and in the 1999 Underground Music Collectives Calendar (March).

The Links.net contest is a great idea, yet it would provide me with something so much more important. This contest would give me a chance to go an area in the world that is 'newsworthy' and maybe help me establish myself in my chosen career.

The purpose of my winning this trip is purely professional. I would very much like to get experience in the field, and for this reason I am proposing a trip to Tel Aviv, Israel.

Israel has religion, politics, history, and social injustice. It is a region of the world that does not go unnoticed and for this reason Israel and the Palestinian Territories would be a great place to get started.

While my trip would start in Tel Aviv (it's the only city available by star alliance airlines) I would also like to visit the disputed city of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

My purpose for choosing Israel is that, while the region has problems with contained violence, it also has the infrastructure available should disaster strike.

For the purpose of documenting my journeys on the Internet I would like to post a journal of my adventures as well as pictures documenting what I see and do on my site (http://www.chiamattt.com) and Links. net.

While Tel Aviv is Israel's capital city, I would like to spend more time in the ancient city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city held sacred by all three Abrahamic faiths. What makes the city so interesting is that it is split up into three very different sections. There is the very historic and very old Walled City, East (Arab) Jerusalem, and a rapidly expanding West Jerusalem. To make things more interesting, even the Walled city is divided into Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim quarters.

In addition, I am anxious to visit and spend time in the Palestinian territories. The West Bank, and the Gaza Strip represent a world I have yet to see. For personal reasons, I would like to examine how life is lived in this part of the world. It represents a world where social injustice is rampant, and daily life is a hardship in itself.

I became interested in the region after taking a Middle-Eastern Studies course at University. My professor was actively involved in the peace process and spend much of his time in Amman Jordan negotiating the very important issue of water distribution; one of the most important issues in the region. His lectures inspired me to take a greater interest in the region and his comments regarding my interpretation of the conflicts were informative and encouraging.

The Middle East and North Africa are of great interest to me, and for this reason visiting 'the holy land' would be personally fulfilling.

I am.

David Matte. 35 Clement Rd. Toronto, Ontario Canada M9R 1Y5. 416 241 7270 home. 416 788 3874 mobile. chia@gee.kz http://www.chiamattt.com Thanks!