Considering that today is World AIDS Day, this seemed like the perfect time to highlight a new book from photographer Karen Ande, Face to Face: Children of the AIDS Crisis in Africa. Although hardly the first person to document this topic, Karen’s emphasis on telling positive stories is unusual. And her technique presents a hard — but important — question for documentary photographers: Do too many images of suffering make people feel helpless to improve things?
I am back in Afghanistan for the fifth time in two years. I have a lot in common with the British, Canadian and American soldiers deployed in the country. Like many of them, I have been here before and I have been under fire. And, dubious though the honour is, I am a member of an even more exclusive club: I have been shot during a gunfight.
There are differences between us, too. I am a photojournalist, not a soldier. I carry cameras and a notebook, not a gun. In the heat of battle, I am trying to stay alive, not trying to kill. The biggest difference – the one that surprises all the soldiers I meet – is that more than volunteering to be here, I overcome many obstacles to be an observer in this war zone.