Aiming his pictures at your best instincts
Accepting his 2007 TED Prize, war photographer James Nachtwey shows his life’s work and asks TED to help him continue telling the story with innovative, exciting uses of news photography in the digital era.
For the past three decades, James Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues, working 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 since 1984. However, when certain stories he wanted to cover — such as Romanian orphanages and famine in Somalia — garnered no interest from magazines, he self-financed trips there. He is known for getting up close to his subjects, or as he says, “in the same intimate space that the subjects inhabit,” and he passes that sense of closeness on to the viewer.
In putting himself in the middle of conflict, his intention is to record the truth, to document the struggles of humanity, and with this, to wake people up and stir them to action.