Jame Nachtwey Again 2/01/2009 12:24






A man is walking alone along a war shattered street. Against a flat and barren landscape, a skeletal mother is carrying her dead child rapped in a white sheet. In black and white, as if the suffering is not enough, Nachtwey seems to consciously extract the essence of suffering
I went to a writing workshop Thursday night and every author mentioned the importance of journal keeping. So I will be more diligent in keeping up writing down the bones.

Notes from the film:

From Christian Frei's documentary film on James Nachtwey, one can see the early impact of photos from Vietnam War on him, when he saw soldiers on grounds that were different from what the political leaders were telling people then. He spent long time to get ready, as he thought that to convince others, he had to convince himself first. One day in 1980, when he was 42 years old, he decided that he learned what he could and was confident. He went to NYC and became a freelance magazine photographer. In 1981, he took his first assignment to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland, and since then he has been a war photographer at the world’s most conflicted areas. (Info is also from his official website www.jamenactwey.com, except from Christian Frei’s documentary film).

Being a war photographer is not academic, but the focus is on people and people's authentic emotions. It is like on stage, except the script is written minute by minute.

He is right there very close to the people and their suffering. His success lies in his ability to make people accepting him being so close. He said that most of the victims wanted their voices being heard and they were aware that injustice had done upon them. You could see from this film that he moves very slow and keeps quiet and calm all the time and is ready to retreat if there is any sign of unwelcome.

This is a lonely embark. I admire his courage of going back again and again to war, to conflicts, to massacre, to poverty. At one street violent killing, he knelt down among the mob, and begged for a person’s life to be spared. They didn’t listen to him and struck this person to death by sticks. When this was happening, most other photographers were taking shots from a distance using telephoto lens. He is always that close.

In his observation, the cause of famine is rarely from natural disaster but a product of war, and pollution a product of commercialism. He did not take his work as art but hope that it enters mass media in order to communicate, and he certainly didn’t mind through the art venue to awake consciousness and conscience, and in turn to become actions to force the change of politics.

I am very curious about his life before 40. What kind of life did he live? What life events or personality led him to such a choice? There doesn't seem to have much said about that.

Note: <Shutterbabe> is a book with bad reviews but has part about James Nachtwey
wildcrane at 2/01/2009 13:07 快速引用
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