James Nachtwey photographer who denounced the war
The American photographer James Nachtwey (Syracuse, New York, on March 14, 1948) has dedicated his life to denounce the horror of war with his camera. The author firmly believes that the image can be a tool to change our reading of the world.
The commitment of Nachtwey, considered the master of war photographers and heir of the legendary Robert Capa, has been awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for communication and Humanities 2016, failed Thursday in Oviedo.
Four decades of work in areas of war, refugee camps, cities devastated by earthquakes, floods or affected by terrorist attacks anywhere in the world have turned to James Nachtwey in one of the most reputed and respected photojournalists and reporters from war in the journalistic world scene active.
Since its first international work covering the civil conflict in Northern Ireland during the IRA hunger strike in 1981, Nachtwey has done extensive photographic coverage, covering military conflicts (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, Gaza and West Bank, Israel, Haiti, Uganda and Chechnya), the ruins that leave the civil conflict (Afghanistan), genocide (Rwanda), fratricidios (the Balkans), repression (South Africa), poverty (Sri Lanka) and environmental degradation (Eastern Europe) , among other topics.
Change the look of the world through photography
Nachtwey says that it was made to portray the war photographer, and disdains the use of telephoto because “compress the reality and does not capture the atmosphere”, said in several interviews. He is declared admirer of the engravings of Goya – who says marked you the road-, and a supporter of layer.
In total, it has traveled more than thirty countries captured with his camera, armed conflicts and humanitarian disasters. Photographs of Nachtwey, mostly in black and white, not shy away from the rawness of the horror and injustice, but that reflected, since the closeness and respect, with the objective of bringing in the viewer a reaction to the genocide, hunger, poverty and the suffering of others.
Images of Nachtwey which have become iconic is the foreground of profile who took a young hutu in Rwanda in 1994, whose face is crossed by the machete scars, winner of the World Press Photo of the Year Award that year.
Nachtwey studied art history and political science at Dartmouth College, where he graduated in 1970. The impact of the Viet Nam war and images of the movement for civil rights in his country was crucial in his decision to become a photographer.
He worked in the Merchant Navy ships and while it started in photography as an autodidact, was an apprentice film editor and truck driver. In 1976 he worked first as a photographer of press in New Mexico and in 1980 moved to New York to begin his career as a freelance, according to reports from the Princess of Asturias Foundation.
Contract photographer for Time Magazine since 1984, between 1980 and 1985 was also associated with the photo agency Black Star. He was a member of Magnum (1986-2001), and in 2001, he co-founded the VII Photo Agency.
His works have staged exhibitions in venues such as the center of photography New York International, the National Library of France in Paris, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni of Rome, the circle of fine arts of Madrid, the Museum of photographic arts in San Diego, the Culturgest in Lisbon, the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam the Carolinum in Prague and the Hasselblad Center in Goteborg (Sweden), among others.
He has published the books of Deeds of War (1989), in which plasma conflicts which covered between 1981 and 1988; Inferno (1999), selection of images taken between 1990 and 1999 the famine in Somalia, the genocide in Rwanda, the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya and orphans abandoned in Romania and untouchables in India, and Pietas (2013), summary of their best photos.
Protagonist of the documentary War Photographer, Christian Frei (2001), is doctor honoris causa of the University of Massachusetts and an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society (United Kingdom). Nachtwey has received, among others, the medal Robert coat of the Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) on five occasions (1992, 1993, 1998, 2001 and 2008), the Magazine Photographer of the Year in seven (1984, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 2002), the Infinity Award of the center of photography New York International in three (1989, 1993 and 2000), World Press Photo in two (1992 and 1994) and the French Prix Bayeux – Calvados corresponsal de Guerra , on two occasions, as well as the Alfred Eisenstaedt for Magazine Photography of Columbia University (1999) and the President’s Award of the OPC (2008).