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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Paul Fusco and Michael Kamber: photo essays

Here are two photo essays with audio commentaries from the photographers themselves.

Paul Fusco's photo essay is an exploration of the Chernobyl disaster through photographs of children suffering from cancers in the region nearby. (Caution: this photo essay contains very strong content.) I wrote in a comment at Majikthise, where I first became aware of this work, that it was the most powerful experience I'd had brought to me yet on a computer screen.

Putting aside questions of the evidential meaning of Fusco's project, it is a profound example of witness. The photography is extraordinary and moving. The power of Fusco's observation and his clear commitment to convey the humanity of his subjects in stark and honest terms are, quite simply, startling. This is work on the level of Diane Arbus or Eugene Richards.

Michael Kamber is a photographer working for the New York Times in Iraq. Here he tells the story of a patrol he participated in...a patrol which suffered four casualties...in words, live audio and photographs. It is, in its own way, a powerful companion document to Fusco's piece, in particular in its marriage of audio and photography. I've never seen anything quite like it. Here, in one four-minute-experience is visceral testimony to the experience of combat from Iraq. You will not quickly forget what you see and hear in Kamber's work.

(Given today's news from Congress, that work is all the more relevant.)

These two pieces form, each in their own way, a testament of our times. They are works of witness. More than anything else, Fusco and Kamber engaged their subjects and refused to look away.

When all is said and done, it is the resolute honesty of these two photo essays that exemplifies the core of what it means to be a photographer.

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3 Comments:

  • For more photography from Chernobyl visit the work of Elena Filatova. (h/t Alan Bostik)

    It's yet another photo essay that will sear itself into your mind and won't let you easily forget what you've seen.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 2:27 AM  

  • I personally visited the Chernobyl area for two days in June 2006 with a friend and former resident of Pripyat. We toured the Chernobyl Plant (including the Reactor 4 control room), several of the abandoned villages, and Pripyat. I have posted a photo journal of my trip at:

    My Journey To Chernobyl: 20 Years After the Disaster

    Mark

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:53 AM  

  • thanks for these links, KO. incredible.

    By Blogger Kathleen, at 11:20 AM  

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