lunes, 21 de marzo de 2011

On James Nachtwey; a living portrait of what it means to be the ultimate and most influential war photojournalist of the last 30 years. Or How (...)

Original title: On James Nachtwey; a living portrait of what it means to be the ultimate and most influential war photojournalist of the last 30 years. Or How a 63 years old photojournalist documented an inferno on earth and 10 years later he´s still a messenger with a transparent presence.

James Nachtwey in action / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

During the last 30 years, people around the world have seen the worst human catastrophes on TV, newspapers and magazines every day. Human scenes so breathtaking that makes people love even more their simple life and their family.

All three photographs taken by James Nachtwey / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

Some of the most disturbing pictures of recent history have been taken by a man who sacrificed the idea of an ordinary life and a family in order to become a messenger with a real sense of purpose: to use whatever he knows about photography to help the people he is photographing. That man behind the camera is James Nachtwey.

Photograph taken by Diana Quintela / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

James Nachtwey was born in Sicacusa, New York 1948. Nachtwey is considered for many colleagues, editor and curators the best and “the one and only” photojournalist working in our days. His body of work has traveled across the world and big cities like Paris, New York, London and Johannesburg blind-opened their doors for him without any idea on what to expect.

James Nachtwey (right) helping a colleague / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

Last two photographs taken by James Nachtwey / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

His recent work shows how sublime and moving can be Mr. Nachtwey when he is on an assignment. He made cars looked like dead fishes and gives a sense of time and space like no other journalist. James Nachtwey was one of the first photographers to arrive to the northern Japan to cover the terrible effects of the earthquake and tsunami.


All three photographs taken by James Nachtwey in Japan 2011/ Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

“First there is shock — disbelief at what you are witnessing with your own eyes. The surface of reality is unimaginable. Huge man-made structures were swept away like toys tossed about by a furious child. Houses, cars, ships and locomotives funneled up river channels, smashed against the sides of hills and swept back again as the raging waters receded, left in grotesque positions, as if by a sculptor gone mad. Towns and villages were annihilated, by a few minutes in the process of a cosmic organism, devoid of knowable intent. The aftershock is a profound sense of grief, amplified by the futility of anger.” James Nachtwey, March 20, 2011.

All two photographs taken by James Nachtwey in Japan 2011 / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

Back in 2001, James Nachtwey published his acclaimed book “Inferno”. Nachtwey himself described it better than anybody: "If I can upset people, if I can ruin their day, then I have done my job”. He told the Washington post.

Book cover of the book Inferno by James Nachtwey / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.
Photograph of the book Inferno by James Nachtwey / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

Inferno is a heavy and big book that shows shocking images of social issues and conflict zones. It´s definitely not a book for the casual photo enthusiast. It’s meant to bring and give you an idea about the lowest and unfortunate situations of people in despair and hopelessness.

Photograph taken by James Nachtwey / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

To know more about the work of James Nachtwey you can visit his official website and you will be warned with these words: “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”. With those words, I’m sure you will feel awkward and in doubt to enter, but don´t worry, you won´t find any exploitation or sensational images there, you will meet a man who has became the cornerstone of photojournalism, a sample of photojournalism at its best with a sense and sensibility that nobody can learn in the journalism school.

James Nachtwey holding a baby in a conflict zone.
Photograph taken by Gilles Peress / Used only for purposes of illustration/nonprofit.

You can also watch Nachtwey in action in the 2001 documentary War photographer. It´s one of the greatest documentary ever made about a photojournalist. check it out and you will see why people are still talking about it even 10 years later.

James Nachtwey official site can be seen here
James Nachtwey latest work in Japan can be seen here
You can buy Inferno by James Nachtwey here
War Photographer documentary official site


Thank you friends! see you on the road.
good luck!

Bye!
Written by Jesus Rodriguez
Feel free to comment!
jrphotojournalist@gmail.com

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