Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blog Notes: Injured Photojournalist, Photography's New Daily News, and Art that Heals

Najaf, Iraq, August 22, 2004, by Joao Silva
Photo blogs are full of interesting things today, so let's aggregate.

The New York Times's "Lens" blog, one of my favorites (as readers of this blog know) focuses on Joao Silva, who was severely wounded on Saturday while working in southern Afghanistan, near the town of Arghandab. He stepped on a landmine while embedded with the U.S. Army's Fourth Infantry Division. A longtime contract photographer for the Times, Silva suffered severe injuries to his legs, but according to the newspaper's executive editor, Bill Keller, he "continue to shoot pictures" throughout the ordeal. (Three American soldiers suffered concussions in the incident.) The blog today reports that Silva had awoken from sedation in a hospital in Germany and was able to speak with his family. It features a slide show of his work (example above) and an interview he did in 2009 with photographer Michael Kamber, another Times contributor. Here's an excerpt:

Q. People have real misconceptions about what we do. In fact, many people view photographers as being vultures, that we make a living from people suffering.
A. This is not the case in most situations. There’s a real need to show what’s going on. Sometimes we do that at great risk. If we’re with a Marine unit or a naval unit and they’re taking fire, you’re taking fire. For the most part, I find that the soldiers who we are embedded with understand. But I think the broader public has a skewed idea of what we do. And sometimes we are callous. Sometimes we’re forced to step over corpses to make an image, or through pools of blood. But in doing that, we try to show the world the reality of the situation we’re confronted with. You might not necessarily change the world with your images—in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen one image that’s changed the world—but if you’ve changed one single person’s mind, I think you’ve accomplished something.

Meanwhile, in France a band of astute and experienced editors have now officially launched La Lettre de la Photographie, a new daily online magazine full of news, portfolios, history, and more. You don't have to read French, because it is published in English, too. Full disclosure: The astute and experienced editor in charge is an old friend and associate of mine, Jean Jacques Naudet, who for years was the redactor en chef of French Photo magazine and for the past couple of decades was the editor at large of American Photo. Last night he emailed "La Lettre" was required reading for anyone in the photo business and anyone interested in the art of photography.

At the Huffington Post there is a wonderful story, written by one Max Eternity, the editor of Art Digital Magazine, about a group of artists who have come together to help one of their own. Freelance artist Scott Andresen was badly injured in early July. After much care he was able to stand and walk, but barely. Financially, he was in a crisis. Several artists, including Nari Ward, have organized a benefit auction to be held at the Collette Blanchard Gallery in New York on November 3rd. The story will remind you how, in many ways, art heals.

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