James Nachtwey


What comes to mind when I mention the name “James Nachtwey”?

Nothing? I can empathize; early last year I’d have given you a blank look as well. Things have changed since then.

I cannot remember how, or when I was first introduced to his photographs. Only that as I view them something catches inside of me. The earliest memory I have of his work is the image below.
Kosovo, 1999 - Deportees returned during harvest time. by James Nachtwey

Kosovo, 1999 – Deportees returned during harvest time. © James Nachtwey

I remember being struck by how beautiful, how right it was – and how horrific the events surrounding its making. This dual is constant when viewing his photographs.

“I’m a witness, and I want my testimony to be honest and uncensored”

James Nachtwey is possibly the greatest war photographer today. Twenty-six years covering conflict. Five Robert Capa Gold Medals. Two World Press Photo Awards. The list goes on. And, in April this year he was awarded the TED Prize. His subsequent TED talk was… It was wrenching. Running just under 22 minutes, it showcases the man, showcases his work, and is worth watching. Download it in high-res if possible. Although nothing can replace the impact a print has, the extra resolution helps with the photos.

More of James Nachtwey’s photography can be seen at his website.

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