Freelance photojournalist Tracey Shelton captured the striking image above showing the instant a tank shell exploded in a Syrian rebel outpost earlier this week. She was filming the group of four rebels using her Canon 7D and 28mm, and had just set her camera on a tripod before the explosion occurred. The blast claimed three casualties, while one of the four men, the rebel standing directly in front of Shelton, escaped with minor injuries. Afterward, Shelton selected a number of stills from the 30fps footage and published them to Global Post (the news company she’s freelancing for), along with a vivid account of what had taken place.
Needless to say, the images elicited a strong reaction from the Internet community, with people calling them stunning, heartbreaking, and the most powerful war photographs they had ever seen. Check out the article on the Global Post for the full sequence of images.
Life and death in Aleppo [Global Post]
Thanks for sending in the tip, Jim
Image credit: Photograph by Tracey Shelton/Global Post
This may be a rare case in which a $695 class might actually save your life: Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is offering a safety course for journalists who cover war, conflict and disaster zones.
Here’s a fascinating video in which Italian photographer Ruben Salvadori demonstrates how dishonest many conflict photographs are. Salvadori spent a significant amount of time in East Jerusalem, studying the role photojournalists play in what the world sees. By turning his camera on the photographers themselves, he shows how photojournalists often influence the events they’re supposed to document objectively, and how photographers are often pushed to seek and create drama even in situations that lack it.
You might start looking at conflict photos in the news a lot differently after watching this.
Photojournalist João Silva lost his legs to a land mine in Afghanistan at the end of last year, but — after months of intense rehabilitation — returned to work in July, landing a photo on the front page of the New York Times. On August 2nd, Silva visited the Bronx Documentary Center and gave a talk on his thoughts and experiences.
The New York Times has a powerful piece about photographer Giles Duley. Duley was covering a patrol in Afghanistan back in February when he stepped on a bomb and lost an arm and both legs:
“I remember looking up and seeing bits of me and my clothes in the tree, which I knew wasn’t a good sign,” he said. “I saw my left arm. It was just obviously shredded to pieces, and smoldering. I couldn’t feel my legs, so straightaway and from what I could see in the tree, I figured they were gone.”
[...] Rather than tally what was missing, Mr. Duley counted what remained.
“I thought, ‘Right hand? Eyes?’ ” — he realized that all of these were intact — “and I thought, ‘I can work.’ ”
And work is what he plans to continue doing. Duley expects to be self-dependent within the year and to continue working as a photographer — perhaps even in Afghanistan. You can help finance Duley’s recovery and return to photography through this website.
Bomb Took 3 Limbs, but Not Photographer’s Can-Do Spirit [NYTimes]
The Guardian compiled a powerful collection of vignettes by war photographers recounting times when their work almost got them killed.
Anyone who says they aren’t frightened during war is either lying or a fool. It’s about finding a way of dealing with the fear – you have to be very calm. You’re not there to get your rocks off; you’re there because you feel your pictures can make a difference.
– Tom Stoddart
It’s amazing the kinds of dangerous situations photographers place themselves into to serve as the world’s eyes during wars and conflicts.
The shot that nearly killed me (via dvafoto)
New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario was recently released along with three male journalists after being taken captive in Libya. After details of her abuse was reported in the news, there were immediately reactions from those who believe that female journalists shouldn’t be assigned to war zones because of the risks. Addario responded yesterday, saying:
If a woman wants to be a war photographer, she should. It’s important. Women offer a different perspective. We have access to women on a different level than men have, just as male photographers have a different relationship with the men they’re covering.
[...] when I was in Libya, I was groped by a dozen men. But why is that more horrible than what happened to Tyler or Steve or Anthony — being smashed on the back of the head with a rifle butt? Why isn’t anyone saying men shouldn’t cover war? Women and men should do what they believe they need to do.
I don’t think it’s more dangerous for a woman to do conflict photography. Both men and women face the same dangers.
You can read the rest of her post over on the NYT Lens Blog.
Image credit: 038 by Nasser Nouri