Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

James Nachtwey

I have been a witness, and these pictures are

my testimony. The events I have recorded should

not be forgotten and must not be repeated.

James Nachtwey

James Nachtwey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Art History and Political Science (1966-70). Images from the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement had a powerful effect on him and were instrumental in his decision to become a photographer. He has worked aboard ships in the Merchant Marine, and while teaching himself photography, he was an apprentice news film editor and a truck driver.

In 1976 he started work as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980, he moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer. His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike. Since then, Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time Magazine since 1984. He was associated with Black Star from 1980 – 1985 and was a member of Magnum from 1986 until 2001. In 2001, he became one of the founding members of the photo agency, VII. He has been exhibited all over the world

(c) Antonin Kratochvil. All Rights Reserve

James Nachtwey TED Talks Lecture

James Nachtwey Time Photos September 11 2011

“When the attack first started, I was in my apartment in the South Street Sea Port, directly across Lower Manhattan. I heard a sound that was out of the ordinary. I’m far enough away so that it wasn’t alarming but it was definitely out of the ordinary. It came from the direction of the World Trade Center so I went to the window and saw the tower burning.”………..MORE                 Digital Journalist by Peter Howe
 
 

Afghanistan, 1996 – Mourning a brother killed by a Taliban rocket.

SeeJames Nachtwey’s astonishing images on his website here

Associated links : http://vsmeets.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/as-close-as-it-gets-james-nachtwey/

Associated links Empty Kingdom

Photojournalist James Nachtwey is considered by many to be the greatest war photographer of recent decades. He has covered conflicts and major social issues in more than 30 countries.

Why you should listen to him:

For the past three decades, James Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues, working in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time since 1984. However, when certain stories he wanted to cover — such as Romanian orphanages and famine in Somalia — garnered no interest from magazines, he self-financed trips there. He is known for getting up close to his subjects, or as he says, “in the same intimate space that the subjects inhabit,” and he passes that sense of closeness on to the viewer.

In putting himself in the middle of conflict, his intention is to record the truth, to document the struggles of humanity, and with this, to wake people up and stir them to action.

He is the winner of the 2007 TED Prize, awarding him $100,000 and one wish to change the world. This was his wish: “I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.”

On October 3, the story breaks … and we would like you to witness it.

“Reticent about discussing his own life beyond the basic facts, he’s clearly one of those rare characters who focus singularly on their work with a missionary-like sense of purpose.” — Salon.com

TED Prize about James

There is a job to be done…to record the truth. I want to wake people up! – James Nachtwey

I want my work to become part of our visual history, to enter our collective memory and our collective conscience. I hope it will serve to remind us that history’s deepest tragedies concern not the great protagonists who set events in motion but the countless ordinary people who are caught up in those events and torn apart by their remorseless fury. I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated. – James Nachtwey – International Center of Photography Press Release

I used to call myself a war photographer. Now I consider myself as an antiwar photographer. – James Nachtwey

I want to record history through the destiny of individuals who often belong to the least wealthy classes. I do not want to show war in general, nor history with a capital H, but rather the tragedy of a single man, of a family. – James Nachtwey

It is very hard to say where you’re going until you get there. That kind of thing is based very much on instinct. As a photographer, one of the most important lessons I have learnt is that you have to learn to listen to and trust your own instinct. It has helped to guide me – this far at least. – James Nachtwey – “World Press Photo 1996 Yearbook”

One response to “James Nachtwey

  1. Pingback: 5 Great War Photographers « Oxford School of Photography

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