Reading Response 9: “The Shot that Nearly Killed Me”

greg marionovich

In this article posted by the Guardian, war photographers share the stories of their most dangerous moments documenting combat. I common sentiment from almost all of the photographers interviewed was a sense of guilt. After returning home from war and receiving praise for their work, many felt uncomfortable with the recognition. The images that were their “most successful” came from the most dangerous moments they experienced. Photos of people being brutally murdered were ones that the photographers felt guilty for just standing by and taking a photo. It seems that many of the photographers faced the dilemma of whether or not they were there to help directly like the humanitarian organizations were there to do or if intervening undermined their pursuit of documenting the war.

Photographer Greg Marinovich, discussed the scene that he captured of a man in South Africa being burned to death. He said that he intervened when the attackers asked him not to take photos by attempting to bargain with them and ask them to stop killing the man. He ended up taking the photo because they continued to kill. He recalls then getting into a car and screaming. It was moments like these where a war photographer straddles the line between being a photojournalist and a human being.

Many photographers caught themselves asking themselves why  they do what they do. Some, although it is difficult and dangerous, continue taking photographs of combat because they believe the world needs to see the reality of war. Other although they agree with that sentiment about the job, overtime have found it too emotionally, psychologically, and physically taxing and have moved on from documenting combat.



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