For Syria’s war is characterised most strongly by absence and collective abandonment. Other than the protagonists and victims the arena is almost empty. There is no foreign military intervention. There are no NGOs or aid workers distributing food and blankets. The media is similarly self-exiled: very few broadcasters or newspapers commit journalists regularly, if at all. A handful of freelance photographers work inside the country, but none of the big names. The middle-aged bravehearts of Bosnia and Afghanistan have grown old and too soft for the hardships of Syria, while the economics of journalism have not allowed their replacement generation to prosper. That McCullin, still a prizefighter despite his years, had hauled himself out to that lonely war zone was inspiring in itself, legitimising the work of the few freelancers already there and challenging the absentees.
Anthony Loyd, The Australian. Parting shots.
That’s right: a 77 year old photographer named Don McCullin recently went to Aleppo to take his last set of photos, 15 years after his last war assignment. See the above article for an account of his trip as told by the much younger journalist in charge of his safety.
There’s no telling which photos from Syria’s revolutionary war will become famous and come to represent the conflict, if any do at all. For a great collection of pictures by other photojournalists in the country, see these. For more of McCullin, who is something of a legend in his line of work, see this bio and a portion of his photography from Vietnam and Lebanon.
A reader recently asked us about scholarship opportunities for high school journalists, which I generally find harder to come by than college/grad level opportunities. That said, here’s a neat one, but note: the deadline is November 15, 2012. You have 6 days.
Mission Statement: Founded in memory of James Alan Cox, a television photojournalist, The James Alan Cox Foundation for Student Photojournalists aims to provide financial support to student photographers of high school and college age. Through a variety of funding, including equipment purchases and scholarships for college and technical school classes, the foundation’s mission is to expand education and development opportunities for student photographers demonstrating interest, talent and financial need.
World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch are now accepting applications for the second Tim Hetherington Grant.
Created to celebrate the legacy of photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington, the “annual grant, worth €20,000, will be awarded to a photographer to complete an existing project on a human rights theme. The judges will look for the qualities that defined Tim’s career when reviewing the applications: work that operates on multiple platforms and in a variety of formats; that crosses boundaries between breaking news and longer-term investigation; and that demonstrates a consistent moral commitment to the lives and stories of the photographic subjects.”
Last year, Stephen Ferry used the grant for Violentology: A Manual of the Colombian Conflict.
Applications are due November 15 and can be found here.
Years later, when I put together a book about those events in Liberia, I included a photograph of one of the people who had been killed outside of the beer factory. I thought it was an important picture but didn’t dwell on what it might mean for the mother of that boy to come across it printed in a book. My thoughts about this resurfaced recently as I put together a new book about a group of American soldiers I spent a lot of time with in Afghanistan. They reminded me a lot of the young Liberian rebel fighters, and yet, when I came to selecting a picture of one of their dead in the battlefield, I hesitated and wondered if printing a graphic image was appropriate. It was an image I had made of a young man shot in the head after the American lines had been overrun—not dissimilar from the one in Liberia. My hesitation troubled me. Was I sensitive this time because the soldier wasn’t a nameless African? Perhaps I had changed and realized that there should be limits on what is released into the public? I certainly wouldn’t have been in that questioning position if I’d never taken the photograph in the first place… but I did, and perhaps these things are worth thinking about and confronting after all.
Tim Hetherington, from a chapter in Photographs Not Taken, a new book of essays by more than 60 photographers about times when they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take a picture. Hetherington died from wounds suffered while covering the Libyan civil war in 2011. Via Time Lightbox.
If you’re in New York City there’s a panel discussion with the book’s editor and a few of its contributors at PS1 Sunday April 22 from 2-4pm.