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March 20, 2005 11:25 PM   Subscribe

Eyes on the War. Streaming audio interviews with 24 photojournalists who've covered Iraq, with some of their best photos.
posted by kirkaracha (6 comments total)
I don't know which images from this war will become the iconic ones, but there sure were/are a lot of damn good photographers on the ground in Iraq.

Two main points: first off, despite how critics had been portraying the embedded journalist scheme as a cynical propaganda move, embedding photographers was a success. Big time. Maybe it was harder for the embedded writers to gather facts when flanked by soldiers, but as a group I thought the embedded photographers produced much stronger results than the unilateralist photographers in the gallery did. More dramatic shots, more variety of shots (especially combat), the ability to cover both sides of a situation (and they neither whitewashed nor sensationalized the casualties on either side), and a stronger sense of continuity. I was skeptical at first, but now I'm convinced that the photos coming from this war wouldn't have been as truthful or as impactful were it not for the embedding program. Photographers need access and proximity to produce their best work, and I don't see how they could have pulled off many of the shots they did here without having been embedded.

And secondly, all three women photographers in the group produced some flat out terrific work, especially Cheryl Diaz Meyer, whose haunting black and white photos were easily my picks of the entire collection. This was even more remarkable after listening to Andrea Bruce Woodall relating the restrictions they faced as women during many situations. If these photos were any indication, it's time to drop the machismo of the stereotypical "war photog" and get more women covering the war, pronto. Other personal favorites were Patrick Baz, Jahi Chikwendiu, Jack Gruber, Gary Knight, David Leeson, John Moore, and Kuni Takahashi.

The audio interviews were rather uneven -- some were just parroting the standard PR feed, and a couple were downright cringeworthy. But there were some gems, such as listening to Jack Gruber talk about the firefight involving his fellow photojournalist Michael Kelly, or David Leeson's droll gas mask story. Lots of interesting context here in addition to the great photography; thanks, kirkaracha!
posted by DaShiv at 1:30 AM on March 21, 2005

This is good..
posted by srboisvert at 4:58 AM on March 21, 2005

Thanks for this. It's interesting to hear them and see their work.
posted by lobakgo at 8:42 AM on March 21, 2005

It just occurred to me that this is glorifying violence, by definition.

Of course I respect their courage and admire their and things like that but the fact is that there is a big demand for images of real violence, and they risk their lives to deliver the product. I just feel weird about it.
posted by wigu at 3:44 PM on March 21, 2005

Glorifying? Are we looking at the same set of photos here?

Movies that make stuff up are doing so to meet the "demand" for violence. These photojournalists were sent to capture and document violence scenes that would have occured with or without their presence. Journalism satisfies our demand for truth, even (or some might argue because of its danger, especially) if the truth is a violent one.
"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, Inferno
Our capacity to inflict violence upon each other predate the economic laws of supply and demand, and are as ancient as our species itself.
posted by DaShiv at 4:58 PM on March 21, 2005

Oh snap

Sometimes I just wish mankind would evolve out of this adolescent angst phase.
posted by wigu at 9:23 PM on March 21, 2005

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