Robert Capa’s motto was “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you are not close enough.” The incredibly talented war photographer James Nachtwey has been close enough for twenty years.
From Kosovo to Indonesia and Palestine, viewers are given real-time access to Nachtwey’s unique perspective thanks to the miniature camera attached to his still camera, which enables us to see all that he sees, as he sees it. Frei, following just a few meters behind, shows us the full context of how Nachtwey works to capture these heartrending images.
American, born 1948
James Nachtwey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College, where he studied Art History and Political Science (1966-70). Images from the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement had a powerful effect on him and were instrumental in his decision to become a photographer. He has worked aboard ships in the Merchant Marine, and while teaching himself photography, he was an apprentice news film editor and a truck driver. In 1976 he started work as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980, he moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer. His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike. Since then, Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States.
Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time Magazine since 1984. He was associated with Black Star from 1980 – 1985 and was a member of Magnum from 1986 until 2001. He has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Palazzo Esposizione in Rome, El Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, the Carolinum in Prague, the Hasselblad Center in Sweden, the Canon Gallery and the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, among others.
He has received numerous honours such as the Robert Capa Gold Medal (five times), the World Press Photo Award twice, Magazine Photographer of the Year (six times), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award three times, the Leica Award twice, the Bayeaux Award for War Correspondents (twice), the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, the Canon Photo essayist Award and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant in Humanistic Photography. He is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Arts.
Peabody Award – Peabody Award – 2004
Osaka European Film Festival – City of Osaka Award – 2002
Cologne Conference – Phoenix Award for Best Non-Fiction Program 2002
Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival – Audience Award for Best Documentary – 2002
New York Swiss American Film Festival – Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature – 2003
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival 2002
Sichuan Television Festival 2002
Seoul Human Rights Film Festival 2002
Sydney International Film Festival 2002
Locarno International Film Festival 2002
Encounters International Documentary Festival 2002
International Film Festival Europa Cinema 2002
Warsaw International Film Festival 2002
São Paulo International Film Festival 2002
Jakarta International Film Festival 2002
Tempo Documentary Festival Stockholm 2002
Valladolid International Film Festival 2002
Hot Spring Documentary Film Festival 2002
International Istanbul Film Festival 2002
International Festival of New Latin American Cinema 2002
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival 2003
Max Ophüls Preis Film Festival 2003
Singapore International Film Festival 2003
Hong Kong International Film Festival 2003
Telluride Mountain Film Festival 2003
International Art Festival, Slovak Republic 2003
Sichuan Television Festival 2003
DocPoint Documentary Film Festival 2004