Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Photographer Until Death

I was navigating through the New York Times website this evening when I came to an incredible photograph. Naturally I looked to the bottom right hand corner of the photo to check the credit and I wasn't surprised with what I found.

The image was taken by Joao Silva, a South African photojournalist and co-author of the book "The Bang Bang Club" written with Greg Marinovich. The "Bang Bang Club" details the hectic lives of four up and coming photojournalist in South Africa covering the brutal urban conflicts characterized by tribal violence known as the Hostel War in the years (the early 1990's) leading up to a democratic South African Administration. The four main photojournalists/friends unofficially known as the Bang Bang Club by their peers risked their lives on a daily basis to capture the horrific violence happening in the urban slums of Johannesburg.

Two of the four ended up winning Pulitzer Prizes for Photography, the highest honor in the field of photojournalism. Two of the four also ended up dead as a result of their high stakes career, Ken Oosterbroek was shot and killed covering the Hostel War and Kevin Carter committed suicide based on the twisted ethics of conflict photography. Silva and Marinovich wrote the book to shine light on the dangers of photography and to immortalize the lives of their lost friends.

Today Joao carries on the legacy of the Bang Bang Club as he continues to work in conflict zones all over the world. Now that is dedication. Joao is determined to document human-initiated atrocities for all to see to ensure that no deadly event is ignored or forgotten. These blemishes of humanity must be displayed and addressed so theoretically fewer will suffer needlessly in the future and justice will be served.

Here is Joao's photograph depicting the chaos he seeks to capture and that of his own tortured past. This photo is of Iraq. If you like the image, check out Joao's website as well as his book, "The Bang Bang Club."

I respect Joao Silva immensely.

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