Iconic Photojournalists Part II: James Nachtwey — The Witness

I am blown away, in awe, mesmerized by the work of James Nachtwey.

I have never been so moved by the intensity of such skill; I am somehow without words.

And I feel as though no one could tell his story better than himself, so I found this video of his speech at the TED conference.

This is what a true photojournalist looks like.

— — — — —

Nachtwey’s website and the speech above are both highly influential. We as Americans are so separated from the horrors of the rest of the world–a separation we are hardly aware of. Nachtwey’s speech is laced with the sobering realities of war and oppression beyond our comfortable borders–realities that must be shared. The manner of which he told his story, one without distractions or fillers, helped me as a member of the secondary audience to respond with a deeper interest in the work of modern photojournalists. In his speech, Nachtwey touches on the true purpose of a documentary photograph,  “‎Every story does not have to sell something; there’s also a time to give.” He emphasizes that images of oppression are not meant to “sell” anything, but to, provide “a channel for people’s natural sense of generosity” (13:08).  Nachtwey continues to document the world, more information on his biography can be found here.


“I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony.

The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and

must not be repeated.”

James Nachtwey


One thought on “Iconic Photojournalists Part II: James Nachtwey — The Witness

  1. Pingback: Photojournalism: Then and Now | The Expectant Wanderer


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