I seem to have developed a habit of mentioning or featuring films and books on War/Conflict photography or it’s photographers. It’s not something I want to do but it has fascinated me in the past – I think it’s the potential to get such powerful images and also try to help the world get better.
Aaaanyway, another has just popped up in my news feeds – A thousand Times Goodnight
This is a “inspired by” type film rather than documentary.
Check tag cloud for a word like “Conflict Photography” to see the other mentions – book and videos.
I have Bang-Bang club the film but yet to watch it (read the book a while ago)
Browsing through one of the usual free London papers last week I spotted a piece reviewing a new Documentary about the War Photographer Tim Hetherington.
Most people into photography and quite a few others will be aware of him by now – he was the British Photographer who was killed while covering the Syrian conflict. He was the co director/videographer of the Restrepo film.
This documentary-film is called : “Which way is the Front line from here : The life and time of Tim Heatherington” and is by HBO.
The review seemed to be quite favourable – as have other reviews I can find.
I’ve not seen it yet and can’t find any UK showing times – so sounds like it’s something we’ll have to watch online or buy.
Correction: Just found it’s showing in Peckham and Romford: http://goo.gl/O3IaSR Which in a way is lucky – as I live in Peckham! BUT it seems to start 16:00 – and I don’t finish work until 17:30 – darn. It’s only on today (Wednesday) and Thursday. SO back to the online/purchase option.
HBO have it on their website, but not sure if it will be available outside of the UK.
The Documentary has a Facebook Page which may have more information later.
Here’s the trailer:
There seem to be quite a few Photographer based Documentaries in the works at the moment!
Just seen (via Photo Archive News) that there’s one about Don McCullin showing in London at the moment! May go and see. Although there are a few conflict photography films I have on DVD but yet to watch e.g. Bang Bang Club.
I only realised that Don McCullin was still alive a year or so ago. Since then I’ve :
– Been to see his exhibition at the Imperial war museum which was very impressive – including his famous Nikon which stopped a bullet.
– Just got his autobiography this Christmas (but not read yet) : “Unreasonable Behaviour: An Autobiography”.
– And also realised I’ve lived a couple of streets away from where he grew up in Finsbury Park
Anyway – I have lot of respect for the guy – not just because of photography skill – but how he talks with compassion and emotion about how, what and why he photographed and also the effect it had on him.
Here’s a trailer:
Nice little video on/from Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson.
Talks briefly about how he became a photographer, “fell” into war/conflict photography and then out again.
Bit of an arty piece – uses words such as “engaged”, “conciousness” etc which all too often can be used in far too much of a high-brow manner, but in a very down to earth way. I appreciate that.
Unfortunately I can’t embed it – wordpress.com doesn’t like script embedding – boo WordPress/oolaya
Who? You may ask….
And to be honest – even though I’m quite the photography fan – that was my reaction also.
I openly admit I don’t know many photography “names” and much less so current than past famous photographers. So it’s caught my attention when I’ve started to read the name of Tim Hetherington quite a bit of late – both in June’s Professional Photographer Magazine in several different articles (one about him, another about great British photographer) and just now in this article here : http://fadedandblurred.com/spotlight/photographer-spotlight-tim-hetherington/
To give you the very abridged version of why he’s made the news recently – alas Tim Hetherington was one of the journalists/photographers killed in Libya recently (20 April 2011) while covering the conflict/human rights abuses there and travelling with rebel/revolution forces.
I’m aware of the old names in this field – your Robert Capa’s and Don McCullin’s (whom I didn’t realise comes from Finsbury Park and is still alive) but not those of recent times. I only found out who Kevin Carter was after reading Bang Bang club. But is seems that Tim Hetherington has been quite the photographer, journalist and videographer – even producing a Oscar nominated film: Restrepo (!), and winning the World Press Photo competition in 2007 – something I HAVE vaguely followed
So why am I posting ? Well I guess this article just hit a chord. Partially inspiration to make a difference but also to go look up more of Tim Hetherington’s work – as well as being very talented and revered by his peers he sounded like a good person, one that wanted to make a difference to show the world what was going on. I’m not a writer so can’t write something so eloquent as that article – so I’d suggest you do go and have a read yourself – won’t take long.
In the mean time I’m going to add Restrepo to my LoveFilm list
http://www.lovefilm.com/film/Restrepo/152143/ (Trailer included)
Although I’m a pacifist I’ve always had a fascination with war films – mostly 2nd world war films.
Although I’m not a Pro photographer, and certainly not a news photographer – in the last couple of years I’ve had an interest in conflict photography. To the point that I’ve sought out and read some conflict photography book.
[BTW it’s generally called “Conflict” photography rather than “War” photography – I guess this means it covers much more bases such as revolutions or serious riots which may not be considered a war.]
What’s prompted this blog post is that I’ve seen that they’ve made a film of one of the books I’ve read and liked : Bang Bang Club. Hence the title of this post. Thought I’d do a mini review of the books I’ve read.
Going in order of which I read them…..
:The True Story of the British Mavericks Who Changed the Face of War Reporting
About the rise (and ultimately fall) of an independant news/phototography agency : Frontline. It’s a fascinating and capacitative read covering several photographers/camera men in several different conflicts but mostly conflicts in recent times – so largely Bosnia and Iraq (1st time around). It describes how some of the guys would just go off to cover such wars knowing next to nothing about the war or places they were heading to – just camera in hand, but would quickly get to grips with the situations. [Spoiler possiblity – but not overly so] It also shows why such independent agencies are now doomed with the control that the modern /western war machines put on journalism – with embedding (approved photographers going in with a unit) and pools (photographer/cameramen who are embedded have to share content with a group of other media agencies) being the only way to get to the Frontline. One fascinating and funny tale in the book was how one of the frontline guys got around this using an old uniform and his previous service experience – by all accounts it caused quite a stir! Very good book and worth a read.
Not only covering “getting the picture” it also covers the dilemma that it seems every war photographer/cameraman/correspondent seems to go through after they’ve covered a few conflicts, and is often raised when discussing images from wars – do I stop and drop everything to help, possibly save, that person or do I keep filming in order to tell the story to the world outside – which may in a way save and help more lives. Seems that some can make the decision and live with the confidence that they made the right decision, but others do not.
: Snapshots from a Hidden War: The Making of the New South Africa
The Bang Bang club is about some conflict photographers mostly in/from South Africa during the troubles of apartheid. They all start out as individuals and separate but through their mutual coverage of the troubles become good friends. Couple of famous names will be Jao Silva and Kevin Carter (yes – as in the Manic Street Preachers song – I didn’t know the song was about him until I read this book). As with Frontline – it covers various aspects of both work and personal life of the photographers – seeing how they cope (or not) with pressures both technically in the job but also personally. Although mostly based around the South Africa troubles it does also touch on areas elsewhere in Africa – such as Sudan where Kevin Carter took the now very famous and Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the little starving child collapsed on the ground with a vulture looming in the background.
Semi auto-biographical account of Robert Capa’s time covering World War II. I say “Semi auto-biographical” as in the foreword it mentions that Capa wrote this book not so much as it exactly happened, but more so as a tale – so not every aspect is true to life.
An interesting read – and comparing to the other two you can see how things have changed with regards to getting access to a war as a photographer. Again – this book shows the kind of character that will up sticks on just an advance from a paper and will head into a war. In a way it paints a more romantic picture of the fringes of war (but I guess you can imagine that anyway – swapping Paris for Kabul or Sarajevo) but then harsher of the actual war itself – as Capa was one of the few photographers to go in with the soldiers on the D-day landings – as can be seen from the cover photo.
Without giving too much away – there are infact very few pictures of the D-Day landing itself – only 1 roll of film from the half or so dozen photographers made it to the papers – the book explains why – a very unfortunate story.
Only seen the one that is really fact based or true to life, although I have War Photographer on DVD – I’ve not watched it yet.
This film annoyed me, well no that’s not true – I thought it was a very decent film – Robert King annoyed me. He just came across initially as egotistical and over confident, then annoyingly naive, and then towards the end over self-reflective. But don’t stop that letting you see the film – ha.
In all honesty – it’s worth a look – it’s a decent and interesting film, it’s just a bit of a shame it’s about 1 person, rather than about the genre or about a collection of photographers. I guess the guys in the books were over confident too when they would run off to war with the newspaper advance – but in the film medium – we get to see and hear this more directly. Maybe that’s what all confilict photographers are like – it must take something to go off to war of your own accord like that – especially the 1st one. But the advantage of that (this confidence and bravado being more obvious) is that the right of passage covered in all the books/films is a lot more in your face and “real” so you get the feeling that – crikey – this stuff is really dangerous!
Will see how “War photographer” compares and the real conflict photographer(s) in it, oh and the Bang Bang club film.
One of the offshoots of the Frontline agency is that they have set up a charity in honour of their fallen comrades and Media club in London, close to Paddington.
I’ve occasionally seen mention of exhibitions and opening nights/ launches there – but I’ve never been. Not sure if you need to be an accredited media person or not. May be interesting to try it out though.