Greg Marinovich Photography- Schuyler DeMarinis

For this presentation on war photographers, I chose to research Greg Marinovich who is a resident of South Africa and who is most well known for his work during the South African transition to democracy. It was these events that were recorded and reenacted for us in the book he wrote, The Bang Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War, which was then later turned into a feature film suggested by Kira. No information was found on the education of Marinovich, but he does not currently teach visual journalism at Boston University and gives lectures and workshops on human rights.

During his time in South Africa Marinovich rose to fame alongside his photographers and journalists. He became known for his photo taken during the revolution taking place in South Africa. This particular photo is of the burning and slaughtering of a Zulu man killed by an Inkatha supporter. This photo went viral as every newspaper picked it up and for the first time the whole world began to become aware of the atrocities taking place in South Africa. The result of this photo was first for the arrest of Marinovich if he did not testify but was then later given a Pulitzer Prize and the publicity over compensated for his arrest.


Marinovich has been found many times in interviews as well as in the movies stating that he wanted to cover the unknown and started as a freelance photographer risking his life to do just this. He was then picked up by the then forming Bang Bang Club, and they focused on putting themselves into the action, risking their lives, and making sure the public gets the shot that will help them better understand what it is that is going on in South Africa. Here is a photograph of one of his partners in the Bang Bang Club injured in the line of duty.


It was certainly a rush and a risk for the photographers of the Bang Bang Club as well as any journalist of the war. Marinovich himself was shot four times during his escapades in the field. He now does not cover combat photography and is said that one of his main reasons is because if his wife and two kids. In an interview, he was asked whether or not that peacetime photography was as fulfilling as conflict photography, and his response was that it was certainly just as satisfying, but it is an entirely different practice entirely. With conflict photos, it is a more exciting and at the moment activity where the peacetime photographs are much more enjoyable and meditative of practice. Marinvoch’s wife stated that the peacetime photographs are easier to share because of the content, which they find more enjoyable as well. For Greg, the conflict photos are about the adrenaline.

For Marinovich, the practice of photojournalism is about bringing the public something that they can’t see themselves. It is this that drives him to take these photographs. He wants to experience the unknown and see what others cannot see. Another key practice of Marinovich’s photography is how he goes about choosing what it is that he documents. What he does is find an event say the South African revolution and then documents life that goes on around it. Much less war-related though still, conflict-oriented that Marinovich covered was the 2010 South African World Cup. These two photographs are interesting to compare with each other, one being from the South African revolution and the other from the World Cup.

Another significant event that Marinovich helped bring to light was the war in Bosnia in 1992 and 1993. Here again, Marinovich wanted to create awareness of the pain and suffering that was going on without the public’s full attention. The photo I chose from this series is a Bosnian Muslim refugee after being freed during the ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian Serb. I also found this photo to be relevant to our current times. Here is an opportunity to use past war photography as a statement for our current political climate but would it be as powerful and would we learn anything from it, how powerful is a photograph in changing our minds about something?


This final photo is from 1999 during the Afghan civil war, just another way how Marinovich shed light on the unknown and gave a voice to those who do not have one. The number one thing that Marinovich talked about in regards to the struggle of his work was the pain and suffering that he saw and then could not do anything about. It was a hard line to cross whether or not it was the responsibility of the journalist to step in and help. Another big thing was the loss of friends, and the personal psychological pain that comes along with the sights that you see in the action and the loss that occurs after. There is a lot that goes into the journalism of war that most of us seem to take for granted when we look at the front page of the newspaper.



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