Tag Archives: war

A Preview of “Shooting Robert King”

I was contacted by Media Junction the other day about an upcoming documentary video on war photographer Robert King. Here’s a brief overview:

At times war photographer Robert King resembles a heroic misfit straight out of the pages of Scoop, thrown into the heart of battle, struggling to adapt to the brutal environment he finds himself in. Occasionally comic, often touching, more often dark, Shooting Robert King, the tale of Robert King, is a unique and personal journey, a film which follows him over 15 years and through three wars.

His journey starts in Sarajevo in 1993, a 23-year-old fresh out of Art College and prepared to dodge bullets on the front line dreaming of a Pulitzer Prize. His dream proves elusive. Fired by his photo agency and struggling to make ends meet, any swashbuckling allusions Robert holds for the career he has chosen quickly evaporate: as he realises this is one of the toughest professions in the world.

Despite himself, Robert stays in the game, over time establishing himself as a respected professional, his work making the front covers of global media titles. Over 15 years Shooting Robert King records Robert’s life from boy to man, to husband and father. It is a biography, which leads from reckless naivety to maturity hardened by war and softened by family. It is a story, which forces Robert to inevitably question why he chose a profession, which involves an endless trail of death and destruction.

I have a pre-release review copy of the video coming in the mail, and I’ll be doing a full review once I see it. In the meantime, be sure to follow the link below to the main site for a preview of the film and information about where you can purchase it. The release date is September 27.

SHOOTING ROBERT KING

Link Roundup 09-05-2009

Reza War and Peace Book Winner

In my review of “Reza War and Peace“, I mentioned that we were giving away a free copy of the book courtesy of National Geographic. We had 27 entries for the random raffle, and I’ve chosen the lucky winner.

I generated one number between (and including) 1 and 27. Number 12 came out, and Pete is our winner!

And for those who didn’t win the free book, you can still get your own copy through National Geographic or Amazon.com.

Book Review: Reza War and Peace

I’ll never get tired of saying how awesome National Geographic book publications are. They work with some of the most talented people around the world to produce amazing books and other publications. This book is no exception to the standard they’ve set.

Reza War and Peace is a book about many things, very deep and emotional. As the title suggests, the book is about war and peace. But it’s so much more than that too. This book is a testimony of humanity — at its worst, and at its best. It is comprised of 30 years of Reza’s work from across the world, and it contains some of the most incredible stories I never knew.

And just as the book is more than a collection of photos, Reza is more than a photographer or photojournalist. He’s a humanitarian, a story-teller, and a witness to the world. His conviction runs deep and this is his reality… his whole life.

Also, read on for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Reza War and Peace can be purchased directly from National Geographic or through Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Reza Deghati was born and raised in Iran in the year 1952. In a short conversation I had with him he indicated that even at the young age of 6 or 7, he was captivated by pictures and paintings depicting people in need and he saw the power of such imagery. Once a teenager, he began using the camera to document the world around him — particularly those in need.

One particular instance he wrote about was in a local marketplace. An old woman was selling fish of poor quality. He was compelled to take her photo and learn her story. She told him that she would find fish left behind or on the ground from other vendors and try to sell them to people who had less money than she. The local law enforcement always had their eye out for her and she was forced to hand over part of her meager earnings. Reza told the story in his school paper, and thus began his journey into professional photojournalism.

Once out of high school, Reza studied architecture at the University of Teheran. All the while, he captured the growing turmoil in his homeland (through the late 1970′s) and the uprising against the Shah and the revolution that surrounded it. His photography caused him to spend much time in jail, but he kept going. In 1981, Reza was forced to leave his country in exile.

Since that time, Reza has been a nomad traveling from one troubled culture to the next across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. He has spent much time in Afghanistan and Egypt, not to mention dozens of other countries.

Reza is more than a photographer — he’s a true humanitarian. He doesn’t just photograph his subjects, he feels their pain and he gets involved. When I asked him if he considers himself more of a humanitarian or a photographer, he replied that the two labels are one in the same for him. This man is a true giver, dedicating his life and all of his material belongings to causes across the world. Reza honestly sees all the people of the world as only human beings — with no boundaries or segregations.

His hope is that people will react to his work. See his photos, read his stories, and be compelled to do something about it. Reza has been featured in many publications (including National Geographic) and received numerous awards and recognitions. All of which is well deserved.

When Reza is not out doing his work, he resides in his adopted country of France with his wife and two children.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Reza War and Peace is a hardcover with 296 pages containing 200 images. The first thing you’ll notice about it is the sheer size of the book — it’s 11×14 inches! And you’ll notice that there are more pages than photos, which means some photos are sprawled across two pages at nearly 22″ wide. All of the images are accompanied by in-depth personal accounts and explanations from Reza.

When I first recieved the book, I flipped through the images to get an idea of what was in store for me. The photos were powerful to say the least, but I had no clue what that book would present to me once I read it.

Reza takes us on a journey through his life, sharing his encounters and adventures. The book not only covers the topic of war and conflict, but also the peace and awesome nature of the human soul (often in the wake or midst of terrible events).

The major strength of the book is that stories are told to the point of evoking an emotional response from the reader. Photos sit alongside paragraphs of background information and inner thoughts from the photographer. Reza constantly reminds us that the people in his photos are human beings no different than you and I — the only difference is the situation they’ve been thrown into.

This little section is one account of my emotional response to the book: While reading the book, I’ll remember one moment for a very long time (maybe for the rest of my life). I happened to be upon the photo of the young girl from Sarajevo in 1993. Dressed in pink among a war torn environment, this little girl was selling her toys because of her situation. My 4 year old daughter came near me and saw the photo — she said “What is that girl doing with her toys?” To which I instinctively replied “She’s selling them.” — “Oh, she doesn’t want them anymore?” — I found myself unable to continue the conversation, realizing what I had gotten myself into. I finally found the voice to say “She wants them… but she has to sell them.” — “How come?” — Again, I couldn’t find the words. I closed the book, answered with a short “I don’t know”, and started to cry.

How could I possibly explain to my innocent and care-free little girl that not all kids are awarded the luxuries she has known all her life? How could I tell her that other kids are forced to sell their most prized possessions, hide from the violence of war, and arm themselves with guns to fight for their country and their lives? I couldn’t do it.

These types of emotions and inner thoughts are brought out through the entire book. As you peer upon the faces of the people in the photos, you realize that they are (or were) living in a reality so very different from your own, and yet, they are so very much the same as the rest of us. But Reza doesn’t just show us the sad moments — he also reminds us that people around the world are compassionate, giving, and full of life. He also shows us the beauty of these foreign cultures including their various traditions and ways of life.

ABOUT GETTING INVOLVED

Reza goes above and beyond the call of duty — he puts his money where his mouth is. In 2001, Reza founded Aïna, an NGO whose name in Farsi means “mirror.” The name references a metaphorical mirror in which people searching for an identity destroyed by war can rediscover their culture. Aïna contributes to the emergence of civil society through actions in the area of education (particularly focusing on women and children), information and communication. Aïna promotes independent media development and cultural expression as a foundation of democracy.

This effort is a major focus for Reza, and he feels very strongly about promoting and teaching free and independent press as part of rebuilding a severely damaged civil society. If you would like to learn more about this humanitarian society, I urge you to visit their website and learn about how you can help others in need.

ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a free copy of Reza War and Peace courtesy of National Geographic. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me so. If you want to be sure your comment doesn’t hit the spam bucket, be sure to use the word “Reza” in your comment. We’ll draw a random winner 5 days from now — December 8, 2008.

[UPDATE] The book winner has been announced.

MY FINAL THOUGTHS

If you’re looking for a fun little coffee table book with lots of pretty pictures, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re interested in experiencing the brutal and beautiful truths of our world, I would highly recommend this book. It’s an amazing book filled with amazing photos and stories, and it demands to be digested slowly and thoughtfully.

Reza gives not only a physical account of his travels, but an emotional one too. Be prepared to spend a lot of time studying this work, and be prepared to be emotionally torn.

I found this book very difficult to review because my write-up turned out 4 times longer than expected and I conveyed 1/4 of what I wanted to. My best advice is to pick up a copy for yourself and experience it firsthand.

Reza War and Peace can be purchased directly from National Geographic or through Amazon.com.

Link Roundup 11-15-2008

Link Roundup 11-08-2008

  • Photographing the desert night with Troy Paiva
    PhotoNetCast
    In this episode of PhotoNetCast we interview Troy Paiva, a well-established night photographer and urban explorer. The guy is such a riot, this is definitely worth a listen.
  • Studying Light in Photography
    Beyond Megapixels
    An overview of the various aspects of light as it pertains to photography — quantity, temperature, direction, and quality.
  • Goodbye George W. Bush!
    ZORIAH
    A glimpse into the inner thoughts of soldiers, written on the walls of latrines.
  • How to Improve Your Wedding Photography
    digital Photography School
    A few simple tips to help improve your wedding photography game… if that’s your thing.
  • 5 Surprising Places to Sell your Photos
    Photopreneur
    If you’re trying to sell your photos, here are a few venues you might want to check out.
  • How to Photograph a Conference – 10 Tips
    digital Photography School
    If you ever attend a conference and you have the opportunity to bring your camera, here are some killer tips for getting the most out of the experience.
  • Image Optimization For The Web, Part I
    Digital Photo Pro
    A quick rundown of some basic things you should be thinking about when producing images for web display.
  • How to Shoot Super Macro Photos
    digital Photography School
    Here’s an old trick to getting WAY beyond 1:1 with your macro photography. I’ve tried this particular setup, and it does work, but it certainly takes some patience.
  • Basic Travel Photography
    Photodoto
    Traveling to new places can present may great opportunities for photos — just don’t fall into the typical “tourist” mode! Here are some tips to keep your travel photos fresh and original.

Link Roundup 10-25-2008

Well… it’s a day late this week, but here are some interesting things happening around the web this week.

A Must-Hear Interview with Zoriah

PhotoNetCast

I’ve mentioned this amazing war photographer, Zoriah, in a previous article here on the blog. Well… over at the PhotoNetCast, we took things a step further and got him on a conference call for an interview!

This is something that you’ll definitely want to listen to. He talks about his past, present, and future in photojournalism and war photography. The guy is amazingly down-to-earth for the amount of nasty stuff that he’s experienced. He talks about what he does, why he does it, and how he got into it. We also have a bit of a discussion about his recent issues with military politics/censorship in Iraq.

Again, I encourage everyone to listen to this interview. Zoriah is a great photographer and human being — he deserves to have his stories heard.

Listen to PhotoNetCast Episode 11: Zoriah, War Photographer

Link Roundup 08-16-2008

As always… really cool things happening around the web this week.

Link Roundup 08-02-08

Some interesting links from around the web this week…

  • 4,000 U.S. Deaths, and a Handful of Images
    NYTimes
    An interesting piece from the NYTimes on the topic of war photographers and the censorship around their work. Zoriah, an artist recently featured here on Epic Edits (and a personal acquaintance of mine), is featured in this article due to his recent issues in Iraq.
  • 5 Reasons to Love Film Photography
    Rasmus Rasmussen Dot Com
    Film photography is so awesome — here are some reasons why.
  • tripod talk – from mini to mighty
    extreme macro photography trick
    Pro Photo Life
    Two great videos from Jim this week! A handy little discussion of tripods — the different types, and various ways to use them. And if you’re looking to get into macro photography on a budget, here’s an old trick for using some non-macro gear to give you macro capabilities.
  • The world’s biggest post about Photoshop
    FrancescoMugnai.com
    This is a massive list of links to various other lists of Photoshop tutorials, textures, patterns, brushes, etc.
  • How to Take Portraits – 19 Portrait Photography Tutorials
    digital Photography School
    19 great portrait photography tutorials spanning everything from general tips, composition, subjects, travel, models, environments, posing, hands, clothes, candids, and much more!
  • Top 10 Tips for Getting Attention on Flickr
    The 10 Best Things About the New Adobe Lightroom 2.0
    Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection
    Thomas is on fire this week with some great articles! Popularity tips and tricks from a Flickr-master — he talks about various ways of increasing your exposure and gaining attention via Flickr. Coming from a Bridge user, this review of Lightroom 2 by Thomas Hawk sure says a lot. It looks like the software has some great features to offer.
  • July Challenge Recap
    September Challenge Announcement
    PhotoChallenge.org
    A couple of new things from PhotoChallenge.org too! The July Challenge was on the topic of lights and lighting fixutres — check out the results! (unfortunately, I started this one but didn’t finish). The next PhotoChallenge (scheduled for the month of September) will be on the topic of portrait photography, and I’ll be one of the three judges for a contest portion of it.
  • Photokina 2008 DSLR Speculation and Predictions
    1001 Noisy Cameras
    Some exciting speculations and predictions for the Photokina event — it looks like we’ll have all sorts of new toys to play with in the next year.
  • The Zen of Photowalking
    Photoshop Insider
    Jeff Revell goes over some tips for photowalking, including how to prepare, what to bring, and how to have a little fun.
  • 7 fun and interesting uses for a fisheye lens
    ShutterPad.com
    Here are some fun ways to get creative with a fisheye (or other wide angle) lens.
  • Creating a photo with a pure white background
    Leggnet’s Digital Capture
    A great explanation of the “in camera” technique for producing photos with pure white backgrounds.