In the Guardian article The Shot that Nearly Killed Me various well-known war photographers discuss some of their more famous and shocking photographs. The Photographers profiled chose images ranging from the siege of Sarajevo, war in the Congo, and in Afghanistan. Each photographer reflects on the difficulty of documenting war and the toll that can take on one’s psyche.
Photographer Alvaro Ybarra Zavala discusses a disturbing picture he made in the Congo in 2008. The picture is of a soldier with a knife in his mouth holding a hand that had been cut form someone’s body. Zavala discusses the fact that he wasn’t aware in the moment the danger he was in and just tried to act like he was a part of this crazy celebration of soldiers, and took the picture. He said he hates the photograph, as it shows the worst face of humankind, and still makes him feel frightened to this day. Like any photojournalist Zavara says he sometimes questions why he does what he does, and the answer is to show the best and worst of humankind and to provide documentation so future generations don’t repeat the mistakes of the past or forget.