Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Shooting War: 18 Profiles of Conflict Photographers

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Shooting War: 18 Profiles of Conflict Photographers

Article excerpt

SHOOTING WAR: 18 PROFILES OF CONFLICT PHOTOGRAPHERS BY ANTHONY FEINSTEIN Glitterati. 2018. 224pp.

"I think I want to be a conflict photographer."

This declaration popped up a dozen times in my twenty-one years of teaching photojournalism. These young people were captivated by the power to convey empathy, to humanize, to do visual battle against the concept of war. The perception of a glamorous career on the front lines was the icing on their aspirational cakes.

From Roger Fenton in the Crimean War to the four generations of photojournalists profiled in Anthony Feinstein's book Shooting War: 18 Profiles of Conflict Photographers, our culture lionizes those who voluntarily go to battles, armed only with cameras. A large part of Feinstein's career as a neuropsychiatrist focuses on conflict journalists. This book, however, is not a series of case studies. He introduces us directly to the photographers or their families and lets them illustrate the attractions of the mission and the prices they pay for undertaking it. Feinstein's choice, like that of the photographers profiled, is to show, not tell.

"I used to be a war-a-year man," Donald McCullin said. Eighty years old at writing and still photographing war, he added, "I need two a year now. When it gets to three or four, I'll start to get worried." McCullin has photographed almost every war since Cyprus in 1964. Though he is drawn by what Feinstein calls the "intoxicating allure of war itself," he laments the price paid by his subjects so that we readers may feel their suffering. …

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