‘The camera is not a shield’: life and death as a war photographer
‘The more the public understands what they’re putting on the line every day the better’ … Pete Muller on the ground in South Sudan. Photograph: Pete Muller
They put their lives on the cutting edge as well as their cameras to show the reality of life in struggle zones — and in the period of Isis, they are targets themselves. Another Netflix show records the most dangerous independent work on the planet
On 22 November 2012, the American photojournalist James Foley visited a web bistro in the town of Binnish, in north-western Syria’s Idlib area. In the hour or so he spent there, he sent a progression of messages, one to his field accomplice Nicole Tung, organizing to meet her in the security of Turkey. Then he set off, in a taxi, for the boundary. “I planned to meet him that night,” Tung tells me.
Foley’s email was one of the last bits of contact he had with the rest of the world. Before long a short time later, his taxi was trapped and four veiled jihadis took him, his fixer and another photographic artist detainee. Whenever he was seen, in an orange jumpsuit, proclaimed the declaration of Islamic State on the world stage.
Tung, 28, is one of six photojournalists included in Conflict, another Netflix show about photography in disaster areas. Brought up in Hong Kong, Tung moved on from New York University in 2009, and turned into a picture taker in the wake of going around Bosnia-Herzegovina in her most memorable year of school. There, she met ladies who had encountered places like Srebrenica. “Hearing their accounts greatly affected me, however not however much the photos they permitted me to take of them, which I created after I got back to school,” she says. Subsequent to making a trip to Libya “horrendously underprepared” to cover the common uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Tung presently photos essentially for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. In any case, in her brief time frame announcing from the bleeding edge, she has been observer to two of the most shocking passings of photojournalists in ongoing history.
Before she turned out to be near Foley, who was killed in 2014, Tung shared a safehouse in Libya with Tim Hetherington, the British photojournalist killed, alongside the American Chris Hondros, only a couple of miles from where she was working in the Misrata, Libya.In six bitesize films, the miniseries — made by the American documentarian Nick Fitzhugh, with Hetherington’s accomplice Idil Ibrahim filling in as a counsel — investigates how Tung and picture takers like her adapt to the remarkable pressure of attempting to share the encounters of individuals casualty to the most outrageous viciousness. Doing unendingly intricate, says Tung is as well. “Inside a conflict, indeed, there are a great deal of insane, shocking and extremely miserable minutes, however there’s a ton of euphoria also,” she adds.
‘There are lots of situations I wouldn’t put myself in any more’ … Nicole Tung captures Libyan men as they head to fight Gaddafi loyalists outside Ajdabiya in 2011. Photograph: Nicole Tung