Just came across this article on the New York Times Lens Blog:
It’s a piece from Joao Silva – one of the most well known, living conflict photographers/photojournalists. He was one of the main characters in The Bang Bang Club - a book about photographers in South Africa – well worth a read.
In October 2010 (i.e. last year) he stepped on a land mine in Kandahar, Afghanistan and lost both his legs – but thankfully he lived. Due to his fame within photojournalism this made quite a splash in photography circles.
Ten months later this is is a transcript of a speech he gave earlier this month. It touches on that occasion of course, but also his thoughts and feelings on what he does, conflict photography, life ahead and other related topics. I find his straight forward no no-nonsense approach very refreshing and I could only hope that I would be the same given such an situation (which I doubt will ever happen).
It gives a very compelling answer to those that question the morals or ethics of conflict photographers.
Some compelling quotes :
Practically of loosing his legs, and getting on with life:
I guess I’ve reached the point where I’m whole again. I mean, my legs are gone. They’re never going to grow back. But you know, that’s O.K. That is actually O.K. I’m alive; I’m here. Life is far from over.
The role of photographers in conflict areas:
I’m a historian with a camera, and hopefully my pictures use the medium to capture history, or to tell a story, or to highlight somebody else’s suffering. That’s ultimately why I continue doing it, and why I want to continue doing it.
And partially the ethics:
People often ask me, “How can you stand there and watch people hack each other and take pictures?” You have to have clarity as to what your role is. If you want to help people, then you should not become a photographer. Having said that, we do help people. We help people all the time. Sometimes you help people with just the smallest of things. I’ve put people in the back of my vehicle and rushed them to the hospital.
But unfortunately, the images are so stark sometimes that people tend to think that there’s a machine behind the camera, and that’s not the case. We are all human beings. The things that we see go through the eye straight into the brain. Some of those scenes never go away.
Anyway – it’s very compelling, honest, and pragmatic writing – if you have an interest in such things – go have a read.
Just a quick “Bits of interest” share rather than a long ramble.
Found this to be interesting and inspiring (Chris Buck on Subject Interaction) :
Seen on PetaPixel.
But they saw it on Strobist.
When reading tips about what to work on or on turning pro – they often mention – do what inspires YOU. This way you’ll produce better work and won’t loose direction and interest.
I do have a habit of just doing whatever lands in my lap rather than creatively following what I want to do. Hopefulyl will do soon ….. as soon as this backlog is out the way
No – not another post on the London Riots. Although some of the posts on social network sites did remind me of this.
Last month I did another product shoot. This time for food/drinks containers – although they have an interesting twist. They use the now well known “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON” slogan.
There’s an interesting story about it’s history here. Essentially it was kept back from the public from it’s conception in 1939 – as it was only really intended for the time of an invasion. Of course invasion never arrived and so the poster was forgotten until it was purchased (by accident) with some second hand books and put up by its new owner. – Go read the link – there’s more there.
Anyway – I think it’s a great slogan for anything container like and would be a great souveneir or present – best of luck to the brand.
First non photography blog entry and first video upload – not what I expected.
Ok – so everybody (in the UK( has hear what’s happening in London.
After Tottenham I really wasn’t expecting it to continue – but infact it’s escalated. These are a couple of clips that I took on my phone on my way home. We had to get off the bus – wasn’t too sure why initially (It wasn’t police stopping us but pedestrians heading in the other direction) although had seen 7 police Riot vans shoot past us and over-heard women on the bus saying there was trouble in Peckham. After getting off our bus – 2 buses ahead this was the scene that greeted me:
After this bus there was another parked and empty. There was a big cable drum on fire just ahead of it and then a couple of what looked like teenagers started dragging it towards this bus. Sadly I didn’t take any video but I was already very cautious as as well as innocent people – there were guys in hoodies with their faces covered all around me. Shortly after that there was a guy in hoodie + mask pouring what looked like petrol RIGHT in front of a big articulated truck. I indicated to the driver that he should back up – and just then sounded like someone threw something towards his side of the cab. Shortly after he did a quick U-turn in Peckham High street – causing the group on that side (largely masked) to scatter. Shortly later up the street I spotted some riot police and took this video:
Walking up Peckham High Street, seeing a smashed up Burger King I couldn’t go any further as the police were stopping us. Directing us around the back of the Lidl shop. Bit of a walk around I came to Rye Lane and a group of people watching on as masked hoodies looted a Clarks shop of all places! took some video but unfortunately trying to keep discreet with my phone by my waist I pointed it too low 50m down the road there was a row of Riot Police – seemingly not doing much. All the looters were wearing hoods and masks – some as prepared as to have balaclavas on!
Neither of the above were in the really scary parts (masked people around me) those times I put the phone away….
After the London Bombings of 07/2005 I always thought that if something news-worthy happened close by I’d try to go cover it – but although not much scares me – I was a bit shaken up. Gladly wisdom kicked in and after arriving home I decided to stay there. I’ve read of photographers getting attacked. Although I’ve wanted to cover something news-worthy – lets face it – I’m not a press photographer, and personal safety comes above all else. If there wasn’t an obvious threat to personal safety I would be out there.
As I’m sure many people have and will mention – this seems to have very little to do with last weeks original issue in Tottenham (police shooting) but instead it looks like kids/teenagers doing a copy-cat thing and just looting.
For all the friends in affected areas – hope you’re all safe.
This is cool
… that is all.
Ok some blurb from the page
3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..