Posts Tagged 'conflict photography'

Reaction to Death of Photojournalists

The LA Times’ James Rainey writes on the reaction of in the photojournalism community to the deaths this past week of two acclaimed and popular photographers, Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington.

Some photographers pulled back from their work. Others vowed they would stay in the game but change their personal rules of engagement. Many revisited their worst misgiving — that no matter how many times they risk their lives, much of the public can’t be bothered with misery in far-off places.

Photographer Ashley Gilbertson talks of an experience he had after an Iraqi woman was killed by insurgents and how it changed his perspective:

“Standing there at her funeral,” Gilbertson said, “I thought nothing is going to bring her back. It all just became too much. I felt like I wasn’t helping anymore. Readers didn’t seem to be engaging. I felt like I had to find a different way to do this.”

It’s kind of hard to imagine the drive and passion one must have for such work to willingly travel into some of the scariest places on earth. Many escape one close call after the next, but as recent events remind us, you can only tempt fate so many times.

As a recent Newsweek piece says:

Anthony Feinstein, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, has plumbed the psyches of some 350 veteran combat journalists, finding that nearly a third suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, sparked in part, he believes, by the tension between being an actor and an observer, seeing suffering but not helping. Many are burdened with a sense of alienation, unable to explain to friends in the “straight world” what they’ve seen and why it keeps drawing them back. Some have lost all perspective on what they’ve experienced. War reporters are unique, Feinstein concludes in his 2006 book Journalists Under Fire, because for them alone, “war is the catalyst, not the nemesis, to their creativity.”

Source: LA Times and Newsweek

Two Photojournalists Killed in Libya

Chris Hondros  Photo: Getty Images

Two prominent journalists were killed covering fighting in Misrata, Libya yesterday, a sad reminder about how dangerous a job it is.

According to Framework:

The men were on the front lines covering fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi when an explosion occurred. The blast was believed to have been caused by a mortar round, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Getty photographer Chris Hondros, 41, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has covered most of the world’s major conflicts since the 1990s. The Washington Post has this slideshow of Hondras’ work. Bobby Ghosh at Time’s Global Spin blog wrote a nice post about him, and Framework has some great reactions from friends and colleagues. The day before his death, one of his photos ran on the front page of the LA Times.

On assignment for Vanity Fair at the time of his death, Tim Hetherington, 41, was just nominated for an Oscar, with Sebastian Junger, for their film Restrepo. His last documentary short called Diary, a personal reflection on his work and career, can be seen here. The New Yorker has a piece reflecting on his work here.

The Guardian has a video of reaction from a doctor, colleague and a Libyan official here.

Panos’ Guy Martin and Corbis’ Michael Christopher Brown were also injured in the attack but appear to be in stable condition.

Lynsey Addario Talks About “Selfish” Job to NPR

Photo: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario was on NPR’s “Morning Edition” today talking about her recent time in captivity in Libya. I was surprised at how giddy and upbeat she was in recounting her ordeal, but maybe that’s her way of coping. Or maybe a capture of that nature really isn’t a big deal to war correspondents. But their Libyan driver has not been seen or heard from since that day and he may well have been killed, so while it may be routine for the journalists, it had some pretty awful consequences for someone else.

When host Renee Montagne asked Addario if she would be taking a break now, she replied yes, but it was clear that break meant something like weeks, not long-term. She said: “It’s a selfish profession. Unfortunately I’m very committed to what I do. This is what I’ve done for 15 years. I believe very strongly that the world needs to see what’s happening.”

Source: NPR

NYT Journalists Recount Captivity In Libya

If you haven’t read it already, the four New York Times journalists, Anthony Shadid, Lynsey Addario, Stephen Farrell and Tyler Hicks, who were abducted in Libya, held for six days and released yesterday, have written an account of their time in captivity. The piece recounts their at times brutal treatment at the hands of Col. Qaddafi’s loyalist forces.

A half-hour later, we arrived on what we thought were the outskirts of the other side of Ajdabiya. A man whom soldiers called the sheik questioned us, then began taunting Tyler. “You have a beautiful head,” he told Tyler in a mix of English and Arabic. “I’m going to remove it and put it on mine. I’m going to cut it off.” Tyler, feeling queasy, asked to sit down.

Sadly, they believe their driver, Mohammed, died as a result of their capture.

If he died, we will have to bear the burden for the rest of our lives that an innocent man died because of us, because of wrong choices that we made, for an article that was never worth dying for.

It does make you think of the cost involved in covering stories like this and if it’s worth it. All four journalists said they’d had scary run-ins or close calls before. Despite the whole maybe-my-nine-lives-are-running-out thing, I’m willing to bet this will not deter them from covering future conflicts, though.

Source: New York Times

AP Photographer Captures Bomb in Real Time

A photographer captured a dramatic explosion in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. While filming the aftermath of a series of car bombs, another blast happens nearby, knocking the photographer to the ground. (Feb. 9)

Conflict Photographer Recalls Suicide Bomb

“I think there are those that help and those who…who take pictures.”

This video, made by Australian photographer Stephen Dupont, is a few years old, but still as relevant as ever considering people are losing their lives every day in the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

Photographing the Front Lines

On the heels of back-to-back A1 photos in the New York Times, The Columbia Journalism Review has an interview with freelance conflict photographer Moises Saman. Along with explaining how he got the shots that ran with stories on the WikiLeaks documents, Saman had a lot to say about his good friend and colleague João Silva, who lost both legs to a landmine in Afghanistan last weekend.

But when something like this happens there are many questions that go through your mind. You try to reconcile that sense of loyalty to a story—the reason you got into the business in the first place. You have to keep focused and continue to do your job. I still feel strongly that it’s very important to have independent journalism, especially from conflict zones.

On a side note, Foreign Policy has a gallery of Silva’s war zone work here.

Source: CJR

Photographers Face Guns in Afghanistan

Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images

As if Afghanistan wasn’t dangerous enough for the photojournalists shooting there, now they have to contend with police officers who threaten them with guns. The New York Times’ Lens blog has a post about the Afghan government’s moves to ban journalists from reporting on the Taliban-sponsored violence surrounding the election lest it deters people from voting.

They’re not really making much of a case for democracy, are they? I get their admittedly screwy logic, but the execution is all wrong. Isn’t it better to assuage the citizenry rather than restrict the press? 

Article via New York Times

Update: Zoriah Miller Story Goes Far and Wide

Both the New York Times and the UK’s Guardian picked up photographer Zoriah Miller‘s story, which we posted on last week. Miller lost his embed status in Iraq after posting photos of bodies of marines killed in combat on his blog. (The marines were not identifiable.)

The New York Times piece says that, in contrast to the Vietnam war where the media had much access, five years in Iraq and over 4,000 US military deaths has produced only a handful of graphic images, which is absolutely incredible when you think about it.

From the New York Times:

“It is absolutely censorship,” Mr. Miller said. “I took pictures of something they didn’t like, and they removed me. Deciding what I can and cannot document, I don’t see a clearer definition of censorship.”

It’s nice to see this story finally getting the attention it deserves.

Military Sends Embedded Photog Home

Photo courtesy of Zoriah

In another case of the government trying to sanitize war, photographer Zoriah Miller lost his embedded status when he published photos of dead soldiers on his blog.

From an article in PDN Online, the military claimed Zoriah published photos of casualties of a suicide bombing in the Iraqi province of  Anbar before the marines’ families were notified, which is against their rules. Zoriah, who goes by his first name professionally, says he did no such thing, publishing them on June 30, four days after the June 26 attack and after he’d heard the families were notified.

The military told him that his posting had “supplied the enemy with information on the effectiveness of attack.” To which Zoriah said that he didn’t provide any information the enemy didn’t already have access to from the New York Times, Reuters, et al. — and no soldier was identifiable from his photos. He says military officials even went so far as to try to get him blacklisted so that he’d be unable to ever embed again, although since then it’s been determined that he can keep his credentials.

A military spokesman claims he was sent home because  “the unit commander lost faith and confidence with Mr. Miller and his ability to remain within the ground rules.” 

Zoriah says:

“They embedded a war photographer, and when I took a photo of war, they disembedded me. It’s as if it’s okay to take pictures of them handing lollipops to kids on the street and providing medical care, but photographing the actual war is unacceptable.”

Article from PDN Online.

See Zoriah’s Anbar Province attack post here.

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