As rebel forces capture Iraqi cities, veteran photojournalists look at the lessons learned and the obstacles that lie ahead for independent coverage in the region.
The growing instability in Iraq was on the minds of members of the NOOR collective, who were in New York last week for an agency meeting. Andrea Bruce, Stanley Greene, Yuri Kozyrev and Kadir Van Lohuizen — all veterans of covering the war — spoke with Michael Kamber, the author of “Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories From Iraq,” an oral history of those who covered the conflict. Their conversation has been edited.
As we walked the streets, I noticed a certain type of photographer that stood in contrast to the sophisticated, mature practioners like Tim or our other luncheon mates, John Stanmeyer, Ami Vitale, David Strick, Jack Picone and others. It seemed to me this group was like a pack of roving jackals. There was a certain aggressive energy, wildness and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. This subset of photographers spoke about wanting to change the world, but their words sounded somewhat disingenuous. They wanted the thrill of danger, the clarity that comes when Life faces Death; the hunt, the kill. Their giant cameras slung around their necks while strolling around the peaceful streets of this French city were like bazookas, and shooting was an act of aggression for them.