Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Preparing For War

Photo: On assignment in Afghanistan

Covering war is the hardest, most dangerous and most exciting part of any photographers career. It's not just a job, it's a way of life. It's the ability to cope with fear, know where to go, what to do, and being able to make fast-rational decisions in unconventional ways.

Friends constantly ask me if I ever feel fear when I’m shooting. In short, yes, I’m always scared. You begin to lose sight of the world when you’re no longer in fear of where you’re at. Any photographer who tells you he's never scared is a fool or a liar, and probably both. Fear is what kept me alive. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Under fire, you swear you'll never do it again. But when the dust settles and the shooting subsides, you look upon the faces of the innocent lives around you, and you realize that this is their daily existence. It encompasses every waking moment of their lives. They are hungry, exhausted--exhausted by violence...by turmoil...by bombings and gunfire and kidnappings and destruction and fear and helplessness and hopelessness. Exhausted by death. Exhausted by life.

As a photographer, you journey on. You pick up your camera, wipe your lens and vow to make every frame count.