our new issue with the legendary war photographer James Nachtwey has been a long time in the making – two and a half years in fact – but as it happens, it could not have been released at a more relevant moment, with a new wave of terror in form of the IS shaking up the Middle East, frontlines between Russia and the West hardening, and Ebola wreaking havoc in West Africa. All of which are themes of the kind that Nachtwey has dedicated his life to for more than 30 years.
Inspired by the press images from the Vietnam War that told a very different story to the official government statements, James Nachtwey found his calling that he would pursue with determination and compassion that are admirable: to document the effects of war, terror and disease. In the hope of raising awareness and inspiring intervention and change, his photographs are neither easy to look at nor easy to forget.
Having witnessed and reported on the defining conflicts and tragedies of the past three decades – from the revolutions of South America and Eastern Europe to the famines in Africa, from 9/11 to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – Nachtwey’s photographs focus on the costs of war: the suffering of civilians, the damage and the scars.
There is no doubt that Nachtwey’s images are a challenge – to the powers that be by proposing an unflinching look at the reality on the ground, at the effects of politics on human lives, but also to us as their audience, by questioning our implication and, quite simply, by opening our eyes to the world.
In a rare and frank interview with mono.kultur, James Nachtwey talked about his struggles with photography, the different realities of war, and why images have the power to create change.
Graphically, the issue is at its most reduced, giving ample space to let words and images unfold: coming in two separate booklets, it presents a personal and uncommented selection of James Nachtwey’s work in one, and a highly intriguing and challenging conversation in the other.
As usual, the issue is available through our online store mono.konsum, and at the trusted book dealer of your choice very soon indeed. Suffice to say that it is an issue that we are particularly proud of.
Enjoy and all our best,
JAMES NACHTWEY: SHARDS OF TIME
“To turn our backs is a form of acceptance.”