Archive for the ‘war journalism’ Category

Degree South exhibition and the future of photojournalism

I attended, in part at least, the launch of the Degree South: War exhibition in Brisbane, Wednesday May 19, at which there were some interesting comments made about the future of photojournalism.

On the panel presenting their work were photojournalists Tim Page, Stephen Dupont and Ben Bohane. Other members of the group (Jack Piccone, David Dare Parker, Michael Coyne and Ashley Gilbertson) were absent due to work commitments. And Sean Flynn was killed during the Vietnam War.

I blogged about Tim Page recently and his comments on war photography so it was interesting to hear what else he had to say about the future of photojournalism which he claimed was “not dead”.

He described the advent of citizen journalism in places like Iran and Bangkok, where anyone with a camera can record what is going on and how the same images are bandied around the world in seconds and used over and over again. But he said there was still a niche there for the true photojournalist to take really important photographs and how more than ever, a single frame has such impact in a world over saturated with images and information that are often so fleeting.

You can read more about Degree South at their website. This is an excerpt:
°SOUTH is a new collective of Australian photographers based throughout the Asia Pacific region…
The decision to form °SOUTH came from an ‘ideal’, that as photographers who have spent their working careers recording what they see in a fair, truthful and informative way – their stories of struggle, hope, aspirations and traditions are about ‘gathering evidence’ and hopefully ‘making a difference’. Creating images that will influence public opinion and go on to have historical significance.

Images in the current exhibition are focused on the effect war has on its victims, both military and civilian. With images from major conflicts around the world such as Vietnam, East Timor, Papua, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, these may change your view on the nature of war.

Go before it’s too late – it closes this Sunday, May 30 in Brisbane at the Powerhouse, New Farm. There are two images from the exhibition below.

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

"Degree South: War" exhibition at the Brisbane Powerhouse

This will surely be one of the Brisbane Powerhouse‘s feature photographic events of the year with images from conflicts around the world by famed photographers such as Sean Flynn, Tim Page and Stephen Dupont.

I’ve interviewed Tim Page and I’ve got a fair idea of his thoughts on war and war photography. He told me once any image of war immediately becomes “anti-war” and that war leaves “victims strewn all over the planet”. Indeed the exhibition is supposed to show some of the impact war has on its victims and will no doubt be confronting, challenging and amazing.

Here’s a snippet from the Powerhouse website:
°South is a collective of dedicated and award-winning Australian documentary photographers who have covered conflicts from Vietnam in ’65 to present day Afghanistan. Often working at great risk to themselves, they have created images that have gone on to influence public opinion, make history and inspire us to find other ways to solve our differences.

War is a haunting journey through the scars inflicted by battle, where the only hope often rests in the power of a photograph to deliver a critical humanistic message.

At present there are 43 conflicts taking place on our planet. Once, the battlefield was the place of devastation, now it is streets, alleyways, schools and places of worship. People and places are no longer protected or sacred and in much of the world it is now safer to be a soldier than an unarmed civilian.

The event runs from May 5-30 but the opening night next Wednesday, May 5, will actually feature some of the photographers with a talk at 6pm. Might see you there!

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

What's inspiring me

I’ve been busy of late and not had time to post. But I thought viewers might be interested in photographic things that have inspired or challenged me of late.

* One in 8 Million Project by The New York Times – this multimedia project finished at the end of 2009. Every week of last year, Times photographers and journalists profiled one character from among the 8 million in New York. The idea was to find quirky, interesting people. The photographs and interviews are presented in slide show format. There are all night accountants, corner store druggists, grandfathers, dancers and barbers. It’s a fantastic presentation and fabulous insight into this colourful city.

* The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) sponsoring famed photojournalist Tim Page to go to the war-torn country and run a master’s course for select photographers, including women.

* Fabulous photographic coverage of the Dakar Rally in South America.

* Confronting but powerful images of the Haiti Earthquake on the Huffington Post website.

* Previous Pulitzer Prize winners given applications for the award close on February 1.

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

Highest number of journalists killed ever

I heard a terrible report on ABC Radio this morning about the number of journalist casualties around the world this year. Apparently there have been 68 so far, the highest ever and up from 42 last year. Even worse is that most of the journalists killed are usually locals, covering their own country’s events.

Many of these journalists actually risk their lives every day by just stepping out onto the street in their home towns. While some are caught up in the crossfire, others are actually targeted by groups who want to control the messages being sent to the outside world – or in this case eliminating them I guess.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reported 31 were killed in the Philippines, nine in Somalia, four in Iraq, four in Pakistan and three in Russia. Only two journalists were not locally based reporters. Nine were freelancers and most were murdered while 11 died covering combat and seven covering other disturbances.

I’m well aware journalists don’t always accurately portray events and have received my own share of abuse, even from friends. But we still need journos out there reporting the news, it’s one way to keep governments and military honest and let us know something about what is going on. I think many of us don’t realize exactly what journalists go through to get their stories. I’ve been a journalist for 12 years but I haven’t covered conflicts. I’ve been in disaster zones, I’ve had guns pointed at me but more for security checks than anything else and I’ve been searched by armed forces. But none of it has been too bad.

I don’t have any desire to cover conflicts but I have interviewed people that have. I did a story on famed British photojournalist Tim Page a few years ago for Capture, a photographic magazine in Australia. I asked Page if he had even been armed with more than a camera in any of the conflicts he’s covered. He’s been in Kosovo, Iraq, Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia and other places (I heard recently he’s been in Afghanistan). Here’s what he said to me:

“At times you had to pick up a weapon and use it. I mean what do you do when a camp is being overrun, there’s no more mines, there’s no more barbed wire out there, there’s Charlie hurling grenades at you. You don’t say ‘excuse me old boy here’s my passport and my press card’. You’ve got the mother on rock and roll with you, so you drill him. It’s you or me and you’re mad enough to kill me although you don’t know who I am. I’ve got an automatic weapon, excuse me you’re going to be a hamburger.”

He said he had also accompanied small commando groups who insisted no one could look after him, so he had to pack a weapon.

The other terrible thing about war affected places is that the journalists living there, covering the events, often do not have the ability to leave. Foreign correspondents can jump on the next plane out of there if they have been traumatized by an event or been targeted by radical groups. Local journalists simply can’t leave and have no respite from the horrors they see. And it must be far worse seeing atrocities affecting your own family, friends and community.

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations.  See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com

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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter - Martin Luther King Jr.