All posts filed under: Photojournalism

Lynsey Addario – It’s What I Do

Photojournalist Lynsey Addario has been kidnapped and beaten. She has also borne witness to the defining global conflicts of our time. Having received the MacArthur Genius Grant for her previous work, her new memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, explores the role of the conflict reporter in the contemporary world. “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” The famous quote by Robert Capa has been a decree for photojournalists, but Addario prefers to get close in a more compassionate sense. For her first comprehensive photo essay, a series on a community of New York transsexual prostitutes for the Associated Press, Addario spent six months gaining their trust before pressing the shutter. “I was thrilled with the idea of trying to penetrate this seemingly impenetrable sector of society, so it took a long time,” she says when we meet in Soho, London. “Most of the photojournalists I meet out in the field are sensitive, patient and empathetic. I think those are all characteristics you need, because ultimately it’s all about the …

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“Ma’am, could you back up please? Could you give him some air?”

When I started thinking about this article, my focus was set to be on Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old black Californian who was shot to death — while unarmed, and held face down — by a white transit cop on New Year’s Day, 2009. The fictionalised story of Grant’s final day was turned into an award-winning film, Fruitvale Station. It’s a powerful work, confidently directed by first-timer Ryan Coogler, and it boasts a moving turn from Michael B. Jordan as the tragic Grant. Fruitvale Station is notable for opening with real, raw cameraphone footage of the incident, sourced from one of the many bystanders who made use of lightweight, mobile technology to capture this instance of appalling institutional dysfunction. This directorial choice casts a dark shadow over the remainder of the film, and seems to acknowledge the importance of authenticity over fictional reconstruction. It’s a bold move from a young filmmaker making his “calling card” picture, but it reflects a key truth at the heart of the matter: Oscar’s slaying was one of the first such …

Kürşat Bayhan – flight of the Yazidis

According to local legend, it was the final resting place of Noah’s Ark. Sinjar Mountain is a tall, craggy range of rock in northern Iraq on which the Yazidis – an ethnic minority descending from Iraq and Syria’s most ancient roots – escaped. Last summer, as the group that call themselves ISIS began to circle, around 130,000 Yazidis of Sinjar district fled their homes. Some made it to the safer enclave of Iraqi Kurdistan, or over the border to Turkey, where they lived in tent cities; the most desperate fled to the mountains near their home. The terrorist group who call themselves ISIS were sweeping through their land, denouncing, executing and enslaving anyone they found, for the crime of ‘devil worship’. In what resembled a parable from the Old Testament, the Yazidis began to starve. As August began, a loose coalition of regional powers, led by Turkey, cobbled together a security corridor. Turkey’s Prime Ministry of Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) began delivering aid packages by Iraqi helicopter, and many of the Yazidi gained safe passage from the ISIS threat. On the scene, with his …