Covering conflict is perilous for anyone, but photographers are more exposed

- - Working

This has been a grievous season for the tight-knit tribe of combat photographers. For The Times, the sorrow began last October, when a land mine exploded under Joao Silva while he was shooting pictures of an American patrol near Kandahar, Afghanistan, destroying both of his legs and shredding his intestinal tract. This spring, three other photographers working for The Times — Jehad Nga, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario — were among the numerous journalists who disappeared into the custody of Libyan state thugs, where they were beaten and terrorized before we could negotiate their release. The darkness deepened by several hues last month when two admired lensmen — Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros — were killed while embedded with Libya’s hapless rebel militia.

Read the rest of this Bill Keller piece in the NYTimes Magazine and more of the interview on the Lens Blog.

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There Are 4 Comments On This Article.

  1. Just wondering what is your opinion of “The Bang Bang Club” movie…if you’ve seen it or if you haven’t then what about the concept. I know that Joao and Greg did the book, but were they involved in the film at all?
    It was also very uplifting to see Joao walking again (prosthetically)…the determination and tenacity that is so evident in his photos will do him well.
    On topic…these people are indeed heroes. The alternative to being in harms way, is to simply eat what the state feeds you…figuratively. The fog of war has disguised many egregious events…in fact the only atrocities we know of have come to our attention through the lenses and pens of men and women like these. That is why I suspect they have become a target in recent times. The factions that are involved in recent events very existence depends on their control of the flow of information…any leak is considered a threat – target.
    God Bless all those who carry a camera where others carry a gun.

  2. @Rick: Yes Joao was involved in the making of the movie before he stepped on a IED in the Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan.

    What do you mean “they have become a target”?

    @all: The US Army gives quite a lot of support to injured media, usually med evac to nearest airfield base, usually Kandahar Airfield or Baghram and later to Europe, Ramstein or Vicenza…were they will get you stable…its up to you or your insurance to get back home.


  3. These guys are a mix of adrenaline junkie, artist, rock star, survivor, logician and fool. One has to have all of these qualities en masse to do the important work they do.

  4. War photography has become more dangerous with the terrorist style of armed conflict as some terrorists target journalists and photographers. Wartime photographers are really heroes as they risk their lives to bring us a clear picture of the atrocities associated with battle.