Cover image for Shooting under fire : the world of the war photographer
Shooting under fire : the world of the war photographer
Howe, Peter, 1942- (Peter R.)
Publication Information:
New York : Artisan, 2002.
Physical Description:
223 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR820.6 .H69 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
TR820.6 .H69 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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Shooting Under Fire is the candid testimony and stunning photographs of the men and women who go into battle armed only with a camera to show warfare as it is and where it is. In this volume, ten leading combat photographers relate incidents of horror, humor, bravery, and daring in locations from Vietnam to Haiti, Ramallah to Chechnya, El Salvador to Sarajevo, the World Trade Center to Afghanistan. Here, in their own words, are their stories of life in the combat zone, together with many of the powerful images they risked their lives to obtain. This historical and very human look at the pathos of war also reveals the moral and ethical issues that this elite corps of photographers face, and the decisions they must make in the chaos of conflict. In addition to the works of these talented photographers are iconic images, from the American Civil War to the devastation of the World Trade Center, that tell the story of the development of combat photography and the profound changes in warfare itself that have occurred in the last century and a half.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

A pall hangs over this selection of the lacerating work and engrossing words of 10 foremost war photographers. That cloud precipitates not from war's violence and death but from the understanding that the war photographer is an endangered species. In Chechnya, whose rebellion Patrick Chauvel and Laurent Van Der Stockt in particular have covered, the chances of being held hostage are now such that neither will go there again. Several of the 10 think Israel has become so leery of photographers that it condones having them shot, as Van Der Stockt was. Catherine Leroy posits unofficial U.S. censorship when she says, "No American magazine ever shows a photograph of Palestinians in their camps being wounded or shot by the Israeli army." Howe, former photography director of Life, reports that the U.S. now tries to severely restrict the number and mobility of photographers of conflicts in which U.S. forces are involved. But every war photographer denied is a witness suppressed--of that Howe and his subjects, whatever else they think of their work, are sure. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bringing together the work of 10 extraordinary photographers, this master's class on war photography includes more than 150 b&w and color photos, annotated with descriptions of their subjects and with very personal reflections from practitioners like magazine contract photographers James Nachtwey (Time) and Ron Haviv (Newsweek) about the nature of their work. A former war photographer in Northern Ireland and El Salvador, Howe, in his illustrated introductory essay, offers first-hand knowledge of the addictive nature of violence and the voyeurism inherent in the business. And as former picture editor for the New York Times Magazine and director of photography for Life, he is also able to lay bare the mechanism by which an image tells a story. The featured photographers then join the chorus one by one. Haviv says the work is "completely selfish," in that it takes him into the history of a country, but he also talks about the role of war photography in helping people. MacArthur Fellowship winner Susan Meiselas explains: "I don't have any doubt that what propels you into these powerful situations is the feeling that whatever you're bringing home is evidence of something of tremendous significance." Her photographs of the execution of Maryknolls nuns in San Salvador are now part of the civil case filed against two members of the government at the time. On the whole, the images-of murders, torture, ruins, hooded paramilitary militias, dead soldiers and civilians, burning vehicles, scarred victims, fleeing refugees-are brutal. At the same time, the stories these photographers tell, and the images they republish here, focus the world's attention on war's atrocities at a crucial moment. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

An award-winning photojournalist and former pictures editor for the New York Times Magazine and other publications, Howe here gathers the work of ten widely regarded combat photographers whose work documents such places as Vietnam, El Salvador, Sarajevo, Beirut, and Belfast. Howe's introduction gives a general overview of combat photography and the resulting famous images from all of war photojournalism. The following ten chapters are each dedicated to one photographer. The photographers describe the why and how of their experiences in their own words and with a selection of mostly full-page images. Their candor, as much as their images, makes this book important. Their work witnesses the death and destruction of combat, but it also conveys the empathy, the fear, and the photographer's drive to get the picture. Are they using their cameras to invade the most private moments imaginable, or are they informing the world? The photographers address this and other questions, revealing the human side of this dangerous occupation. By including images from the World Trade Center on 9/11, Howe extends the reach of his book to include a new understanding of war for Americans. Highly recommended for all photography collections.-David Bryant, New Canaan P.L., CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-An introduction and brief history of war photography precede individual observations by "ten of the most famous living photographers," male and female, that convey both the horrors and the highs associated with their profession. The contributors speak of the fear, shame, and other emotional obstacles to taking a specific shot ("How can I photograph this? How can I not?"), and of the guilt they feel at being able to escape the violence and suffering they witness. More than 150 black-and-white and color photos taken in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Biafra, Beirut, Belfast, etc.-some that cannot be viewed without wincing-accompany the pieces. Repeatedly, the contributors express a need to understand conflict and to make events known in the hope that they are not only documenting history but also helping to change it. With world events continuing to provide abundant subject matter, readers of Howe's book are reminded that, allowed unfettered access, combat photographers "are among civilization's best allies."-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 10
For Every War a Witnessp. 14
Patrick Chauvelp. 38
Philip Jones Griffithsp. 56
Ron Havivp. 78
Catherine Leroyp. 98
Don Mccullinp. 116
Susan Meiselasp. 140
Christopher Morrisp. 156
James Nachtweyp. 172
Maggie Steberp. 192
Laurent Van Der Stocktp. 208
Photography Credits and Acknowledgmentsp. 224