All posts filed under: Photojournalism

James Nachtwey – The Improviser

James Nachtwey stretches his arms across the sofa and pauses to think. He’s just declined to answer whether he ever has nightmares, and now he’s fielding a question that every war reporter has faced; has he ever truly feared for his life? He recalls covering the civil war in Sri Lanka. He was embedded with one of five rebel groups, but the Tamil Tigers, the main insurgent group, were taking out their opposition one by one. He was on an island off the Jaffna peninsula, hiding out. The position was being over-run, and the native New Yorker was completely isolated, unable to get out. He found a Catholic monastery, and hid. In a church in outer Sri Lanka, he found a copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and he read it. He stayed there for three weeks, trying to focus on Shakespeare, until he found the chance to escape back to the mainland and to safety. “That was the first time I really thought I wasn’t going to make it,” Nachtwey says, his voice even. “Parts of my life I’d thought I’d …


From Rapa Nui – By The Shade Of The Moai © Lorenzo Moscia

Lorenzo Moscia’s Haiti

“It was inconceivable to my father that he would end up with a son who wanted to pursue a career in the arts,” says photographer Lorenzo Moscia. Like many of his father’s generation in Italy, having lost nearly everything to the Second World War, the aftermath thrust him into manhood, and having to provide financial support to his struggling, large family of siblings. By the time his father had become a grown man himself, married, with a child of his own, he had worked tirelessly for many decades. So it’s not surprising that Lorenzo, his only child, would be raised to prize hard graft. Lorenzo’s upbringing in Rome was fairly typical, albeit lonesome – a constant quest for friendships. His parents relocated within Rome when he was 11, and he suddenly found himself starting a new school across town – the local Catholic school – surrounded by nothing but male priests. “It was the longest period of boredom I have ever experienced,” he says. This was alleviated somewhat by his parents’ purchase of a VHS camcorder in …


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 …



“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 …


August cover. Image © Adam Ferguson

BJP #7827: This is War

This year is the centenary of the start of World War I – the war to end all wars that unfortunately didn’t. Like many others, we’ve decided to mark the occasion with a special issue of BJP devoted to images of war. In our August issue (#7827), This is War, we’ve focused on contemporary conflict rather than the Great War, and deliberately avoided the kind of images familiar from the news. Instead we look at the everyday experience of war – as it’s experienced by soldiers fighting it, civilians caught up in it, or those watching from the relative security of the sidelines. In this way we hope to investigate how war becomes an everyday fact of life, normalised to the extent that we accept it. We begin our investigation with Melanie Friend’s photographs of British air shows, which take on a sinister tone, and continue with three portfolios that portray everyday life in the extraordinary circumstances of war: Edmund Clark’s images of Bagram Airfield, the US military’s largest enclave in Afghanistan; Emine Gozde Sevim’s series, Embed …


BJP Staff