All posts tagged: war

Welcome to Donetsk: postcards from a war zone

In 2014 while working on a project about European population decline, Anastasia Taylor-Lind found herself in eastern Ukraine as protests against the government of Viktor Yanukovych gathered pace in the capital Kiev. Relocating to cover events in the Maidan or Independence Square she produced a series of portraits of those involved in the protests, which led to her first book, Portraits from the Black Square, published last year by GOST. The upheaval in Ukraine did not end with Yanukovych’s flight from the country, and Taylor-Lind felt compelled to keep telling stories in Ukraine. Returning to photograph in the increasingly restless east of the country proved to be an exasperating experience, however. “I felt a similar frustration in Maidan, I’d felt it in Libya and then I felt it again in the east. I wasn’t contributing anything to the documentation of what was happening there – I was just making pictures [that] already existed.” She describes feeling a “growing frustration about the way we tell war stories in the mass media, and I have been complicit in this. I think …

2015-09-16T15:12:43+00:00

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 …

2015-08-21T13:25:48+00:00

Olga Matveeva – Feud

“Our relationship was strong, sophisticated,” says the Russian photographer Olga Matveeva. She had just graduated from Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography when, together with her boyfriend, they decided to move from Moscow to Crimea, for the winter at least, “and probably for longer”.  They were sharing a home, deeply in love. “But suddenly, something changed in the air,” she tells BJP from Moscow. “Everything became serious, frightening. Everyone stopped trusting each other.” The protests began in Kiev’s Maidan Square. Then, with a slow inevitability, Ukraine fell into war with its old master. Matveeva and her boyfriend found themselves sitting on the sofa, watching TV, comparing the news coverage of Putin’s coded invasion of Ukraine and the eventual annexation of Crimea. It was, says Matveeva, “a strange kind of entertainment”. As they flicked from Ukrainian to Russian to European TV channels, she started to come to terms with her situation. “I realised we were not a couple anymore, because we were not willing to give support to each other,” she says of her lover. So began Feud, a photography project …

2015-04-17T18:44:18+00:00

Emine Gozde Sevim – Embed in Egypt

BJP

A fortnight after Emine Gozde Sevim arrived in Arizona as a high school scholarship student, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. “It made me realise how powerful an image can be – how pictures can serve as a record,” she says, by phone from her apartment in New York. “If nobody makes a record, we can’t connect to what happened in the same way.” She took up photography soon afterwards. As a child, Sevim had adored making little films with a video camera but, until 9/11, she’d had no real contact with photography proper, she says. She grew up in Istanbul, “which differs from the rest of Europe – visual culture is not paid much attention”. Born in Turkey, with Afghan roots on her mother’s side, she felt personally as well as intellectually affected by 9/11. “It felt like a big historical breaking point, that the world was separating into East and West, more distant than they had ever been,” she says. “I was being educated in America, and I come from a …

2015-04-17T13:57:18+00:00

BJP Staff