Jump to content


Photo

Cinematographers in War Zones


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Robert Edge

Robert Edge
  • Sustaining Members
  • 401 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:57 PM

Yesterday, I read an article about American journalist Bob Woodruff and Canadian cinematographer Doug Vogt that says that about as many journalists and photographers have died in iraq as during the whole of the Vietnam War. The death count is over 60. I don't know how many others, among them Woodruff and Vogt, have been injured.

If you were offered a job as a motion or stills photographer in Iraq, would you take it? If so, which of the two jobs would you prefer? Why?
  • 0

#2 Laurent Andrieux

Laurent Andrieux
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1527 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • France

Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:59 PM

There have been more journalists assasinated in america (both nothern and southern) than on any other continent, this year...
  • 0

#3 Kevin Zanit

Kevin Zanit
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1223 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • LA

Posted 01 February 2006 - 07:38 PM

Sean Fairburn posts on CML a lot. He shot HD for the USMC in Iraq. He has some photos on his site http://www.seanfairb...edom/index.html


Kevin Zanit
  • 0

#4 Sidney King

Sidney King
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 56 posts
  • Director

Posted 02 February 2006 - 01:00 AM

I for one am grateful for all journalists, print, still, moving, whatever, in Iraq. Being forced to rely on the Pentagon for "news" from a war zone on the other side of the globe is a pretty terrifying prospect.

I'm curious if anyone was at Sundance and saw the doc "Iraq in Fragments." It's a documentary on the occupation shot in, and I'm not kidding, 35mm. It's the result of several years work, is more like an extended visual tone poem than a doc structured around a central narrative. Apparently it's quite stunning work.

If anyone's seen it please chime in, I'll definitely be following it to see what happens with it.

Edited by Sidney King, 02 February 2006 - 01:01 AM.

  • 0

#5 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:58 AM

Some years ago there was an exhibition in London called 'Requiem' about photographers who died in Indochina/Vietnam. Robert Capra and Larry Burrows were probably the most famous ones, but you also had people like Sean Flynn (the son of Errol Flyn) and countless others. I am not sure if the book on the exhibition is still available, but it carries the same title and is edited by Horst Faas and Tim Page. Beautiful work.
  • 0

#6 Max Jacoby

Max Jacoby
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2955 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:09 AM

Sean Fairburn posts on CML a lot. He shot HD for the USMC in Iraq. He has some photos on his site http://www.seanfairb...edom/index.html

His pictures remind me very much of highschool yearbook pictures. Proud kids with their toys staring at the camera. Too bad there is nothing journalistic about this approach, it just shows us these soldiers how they like to be seen, not how they really are.
  • 0

#7 Delorme Jean-Marie

Delorme Jean-Marie
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 513 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • paris, france

Posted 02 February 2006 - 06:53 AM

the movie "harrison flowers" from ellie chouraki is about that
what's in the head of a war photographer, it's from a true storie.
a german doc about james natchwey also talk about it.

if you read the books from isabelle hellsen (harrison flowers) you have a good POV from a war photographer.

a lot of locals unknowns dies everyday on war zone making still or films to fight against what should never ever happened, the most terrible thing on earth : a WAR !
  • 0

#8 Dominik Muench

Dominik Muench
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 443 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brisbane

Posted 02 February 2006 - 07:05 AM

i can also recommend "war photographer" about james nachtwey, fantastic !!!
  • 0

#9 LondonFilmMan

LondonFilmMan
  • Guests

Posted 02 February 2006 - 07:34 AM

I wouldn't choose either photographer or cinematographer.

I'd probably think to myself these things....

'hero' = propaganda.

This vision of 'camera in one hand, gun in the other' = a nonsense notion. I'd remember the proverb: he who lives by the gun, dies by the gun. And I'd remember that dying was very final indeed.

I'd also remember, 'today's news is tomorrow's fish and chip paper!

I'd get a reality check and ask myself: would a (black and white?) (thumbnail-sized?) (cropped?) photo illustrating yet another story (that people were probably sick of reading about?) warrant risking my life for?

I'd also think: and that's if they'd (care to?) use my photo (instead of the other hundreds of thousands already on file). I'd also speculate (and have no guarantees) whether the photo department would pay a good price for my work and why they'd think that using my photo was a better (business) decision than using a newswire one.

And no matter what happened, I'd remember that after probably just a few seconds, probably 99.99999% of the world's population wouldn't even remember my name or care for my work more than the cappuccino going cold in their hand. (And I wouldn't expect them to either).

I'd think of my family because they would be the ones who'd love me and they would be the ones who I'd want to watch my movies and say "that was amazing."
  • 0

#10 Delorme Jean-Marie

Delorme Jean-Marie
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 513 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • paris, france

Posted 02 February 2006 - 08:25 AM

war photographers do an incredible job and they don't do it to be famous but because they need to inform us about what is happening next door and some time legitimized by our votes!
thanks to them, stars and unknowns. most of them don't care about photography they just care about witnessing.
but i'm talking about real journalists, not main stream, news pipline feeders...
thanks to stanley green for his work in tchetchenia. after his work , nobody can say anymore :"we didn't knew" but instead "we don't care"!!

so my point is that cinematography has just little to do with war. it's what you film rather than how you film.
just my opinion...
  • 0

#11 Sam Wells

Sam Wells
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1751 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 06 February 2006 - 09:03 PM

Some years ago there was an exhibition in London called 'Requiem' about photographers who died in Indochina/Vietnam. Robert Capra and Larry Burrows were probably the most famous ones, but you also had people like Sean Flynn (the son of Errol Flyn) and countless others. I am not sure if the book on the exhibition is still available, but it carries the same title and is edited by Horst Faas and Tim Page. Beautiful work.


This exists now as a permanent exhibit at the War Remnants Museum in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City.

The work is beautifully printed and exhibited; quite possibly the most powerful museum exhibit I've ever seen. I sort of sat in the courtyard afterward in a daze, unable to even move.

-Sam
  • 0

#12 James Steven Beverly

James Steven Beverly
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4199 posts
  • Director
  • El Paso, Texas

Posted 07 February 2006 - 12:56 AM

There have been more journalists assasinated in america (both nothern and southern) than on any other continent, this year...


Lumping North and South America together is like lumping apples and Buicks together. Contrary to what bull you might have heard, we rarely shoot our journalists although they are occationally put in jail for refusing to reveal their sources. This tends to happen more when an idiot happens to occupy the White House, I do however, consider their sacrifice, the highest form of integrety. In fact I can't remember the last time a journalist was murdered in the US or Canada, especially is the cowardly, dispicable and scummy way Al Quida and those psycotic fanatical religious bastard insurgents murder innocent people, some of whom include journalists. Now South America is a completely different world. The drug lords and near totaliterian regimes in South America murder their journalists onm a reguare basis because they can't afford have a free press and hope to survive when the rocks are turned over and the roaches of humanity are exposed to the daylight. You forgot Central America where this sort of thing also happens. The reason we know about our governments shinanigans is because of the press and we hold it as perhaps our greatest freedom. That's why conspirises never work here at least not in the long run, because someone always finds out and leaks it to the press and once they know everyone knows. To answer the original question I would go in a heartbeat, but I would carry a gun.
  • 0

#13 Rik Andino

Rik Andino
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 783 posts
  • Electrician
  • New York City

Posted 09 February 2006 - 02:45 AM

Lumping North and South America together is like lumping apples and Buicks together. Contrary to what bull you might have heard, we rarely shoot our journalists although they are occationally put in jail for refusing to reveal their sources. This tends to happen more when an idiot happens to occupy the White House, I do however, consider their sacrifice, the highest form of integrety. In fact I can't remember the last time a journalist was murdered in the US or Canada, especially is the cowardly, dispicable and scummy way Al Quida and those psycotic fanatical religious bastard insurgents murder innocent people, some of whom include journalists. Now South America is a completely different world. The drug lords and near totaliterian regimes in South America murder their journalists onm a reguare basis because they can't afford have a free press and hope to survive when the rocks are turned over and the roaches of humanity are exposed to the daylight. You forgot Central America where this sort of thing also happens. The reason we know about our governments shinanigans is because of the press and we hold it as perhaps our greatest freedom. That's why conspirises never work here at least not in the long run, because someone always finds out and leaks it to the press and once they know everyone knows. To answer the original question I would go in a heartbeat, but I would carry a gun.


You seem to have an accute knowledge of South America and the politics of it's various nations...
Thank you for enlightening us with those bias tidbit.


If anyone is wondering--yes I was being sarcastic.
  • 0

#14 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 09 February 2006 - 04:53 AM

If I could get the funds and people together, I'd drop everything and go to Iraq this very moment. Even now there is a story to be told that isn't being told. It drives me crazy the stuff that must be going on over there that can't be shown on American TV. It is one thing censoring dramas in the middle of the day, but for events like September 11 or footage from the front, I think censorship is a terrible terrible thing. That and there's this agenda that every television station has, be it an American station or an Arab station or what have you. I'd like to go over there and tell the story from EVERYONE's perspective. If I could, I would try to interview insurgents as well as American troops. If it is true that there has been a 35mm documentary shot over at the front, I am relieved that someone else was able to go over there and really put a concerted, well-funded, unbiased effort into chronicling the war over there. I only wish that I could see a print of this. . . Instead of "Big Mamma's House 2", this is what should be drawing people to theatres. For in theatres, there is much less sensorship and much more room for showing the realities of war.

Regards.

Karl Borowski

Post Script: Robert Capa is indeed one of the great war photographers of all time. I think men like him are even more courageous than the soldiers they roam amongst, for they face enemy fire with a camera instead of a gun. Capa was in WWII, where he went ashore at Normandy and shot some of the most famous pictures of that war. He retired from this type of journalism after Korea, but was pressed back into service covering the French war in Vietnam. His motto was "If your picture isn't good, you aren't getting close enough." and his pictures certainly reflect this credo. In Vietnam, he went ahead of a group of soldiers to try to get a good shot setup. Despite their attempts to keep him safe, he insisted on having free reign to roam about. As he was setting up his picture, he stepped on a landmine. He was one of the first American fatalities in Vietnam.
  • 0

#15 Robert Edge

Robert Edge
  • Sustaining Members
  • 401 posts
  • Other

Posted 09 February 2006 - 09:23 AM

If it is true that there has been a 35mm documentary shot over at the front...


The film to which you are referring was actually shot in video. There is information on the film, including detailed technical information, at www.iraqinfragments.com
  • 0

#16 Tim J Durham

Tim J Durham
  • Sustaining Members
  • 742 posts
  • Director
  • East Coast, Baby!

Posted 09 February 2006 - 02:34 PM

If you were offered a job as a motion or stills photographer in Iraq, would you take it? If so, which of the two jobs would you prefer? Why?

No is the answer. If I were interested in that sort of thing anymore and if I WERE to have a choice of shooting stills or video in a war zone, I would choose to shoot stills. TV cameras draw far more attention. The war in the Balkans meant the start of a very disturbing trend in that the press were actively sought out as targets. I'm sure that had been the case in other circumstances, but this war was the first where it became known that it was policy, Serbian snipers were given orders to take out TV crews.

This is now the norm and so I would refrain from taking a war assignment. No story is worth- to me- getting my head chopped off. Others may feel different but todays war photos and video are forgotten almost as fast as they are shown and are more likely to be used as propaganda by one side or the other so the moral imperative is gone, in my opinion.

When I was at CNN (and quite a bit younger) I applied to be included in the Pentagon Pool (which was formed as a response to the press complaints of being left home for Granada) which meant you went in with the first wave of a military operation (embedded). This was before the Balkan war and I would not have volunteered then knowing what we know now.
  • 0

#17 James Steven Beverly

James Steven Beverly
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4199 posts
  • Director
  • El Paso, Texas

Posted 10 February 2006 - 03:05 AM

You seem to have an accute knowledge of South America and the politics of it's various nations...
Thank you for enlightening us with those bias tidbit.
If anyone is wondering--yes I was being sarcastic.


If you find my tidbits bias, I would suggest you pick up a newspaper (maybe the New York Times) every once in a while or maybe a history book. South America is filled with censorship of the press, assasination of reporters who tell the truth and bombing of newspapers as well as governmental agencies of those countries simple taking over the airwaves. I thinking specifically of Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, all of whom have documented histories of repression, censorship and violence towards their own peoples and suppestion of the press. But I quess we southern boys don't know nuth'n next to ya sofisticated New Yorkers, cus all we be ta stuipid ta read.

Edited by Capt.Video, 10 February 2006 - 03:07 AM.

  • 0

#18 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:53 AM

The film to which you are referring was actually shot in video. There is information on the film, including detailed technical information, at www.iraqinfragments.com


That's not the film I'm referring to. The guy mentioned earlier in this post shot his stills on 35mm and his video on SD and HD tape. I heard somewhere (maybe on another thread on this forum?) that there is actually a documentary that was shown at Sundance shot in 35mm that chronicled the war in Iraq.

Regards.

Karl Borowski
  • 0

#19 Tim J Durham

Tim J Durham
  • Sustaining Members
  • 742 posts
  • Director
  • East Coast, Baby!

Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:03 PM

If you find my tidbits bias, I would suggest you pick up a newspaper (maybe the New York Times) every once in a while or maybe a history book. South America is filled with censorship of the press, assasination of reporters who tell the truth and bombing of newspapers as well as governmental agencies of those countries simple taking over the airwaves. I thinking specifically of Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, all of whom have documented histories of repression, censorship and violence towards their own peoples and suppestion of the press. But I quess we southern boys don't know nuth'n next to ya sofisticated New Yorkers, cus all we be ta stuipid ta read.


And you can read all about it:

http://www.cpj.org/k...ives/stats.html

The archives only go back to 1992 but that's enough to get a sense of the trend. Since 1996, there have been more photogs and cameramen killed than any other journalistic endeavor. More at:

http://www.cpj.org/
  • 0


Ritter Battery

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

CineTape

The Slider

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

CineTape

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

The Slider