30 March to 20 June 2007
Foam, Amsterdam’s museum of photography, presents a retrospective of the work of photographer James Nachtwey. American photographer James Nachtwey (b. 1948, New York), one of the most influential photojournalists of our day, has photographed in crisis situations around the world for over 20 twenty years, including Rwanda, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, the Middle East and Iraq. In today’s overwhelmingly image-focused culture Nachtwey’s photos manage to grab our attention and keep it. The portrait of a Rwandan boy whose face was disfigured with the stroke of a machete, or the Afghan woman in a burka, kneeling beside the grave of her murdered brother, are images imprinted on our collective memory.
James Nachtwey sees himself as an ‘anti-war photographer’: a photographer who in addition to documenting situations, also bears witness and gives victims a voice. His photos aren’t an end in themselves; they are the means with which to shake people awake, to warn and shock. Nachtwey distrusts telescopic lenses; he prefers a 35 mm lens which forces him to get as close as possible to his subject and to actually become involved with the situation. His photos are characterised by their finely balanced composition which, despite the subject, is nevertheless remarkably aesthetic. His way of framing a composition is a unique aspect of Nachtwey’s work. His powerful visual images catch the viewer’s eye, without detracting from the shocking content they portray.
Nachtwey shows his public the circumstances in which people exist, while at the same time documenting their situation with the utmost respect.
James Nachtwey graduated in art history and politics at Dartmount College. He was inspired to start photographing by photos of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement.
In 1976 Nachtwey became a news photographer in New Mexico before moving to New York in 1980 to work as a freelance photographer for a variety of magazines. His first assignment abroad took him to Northern Ireland at the height of the IRA hunger strike in 1981. Since then Nachtwey has documented wars, conflicts and social problems around the world.
Nachtwey was a member of Magnum Photos from 1986 to 2001. He won World Press Photo of the Year twice for his remarkable, compassionate photos, as well as six Magazine Photographer of the Year awards and five Robert Capa Medals. In 2001 Nachtwey founded SEVEN (VII) photo agency.
This exhibition was made possible thanks to NCDO.
“Testimony” can be seen from 30 March – 20 June 2007 at Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. Open daily from 10.00 to 17.00, Thurs/Fri 10.00-21.00. Tickets: € 7.00 / info: +31 20 5516500 / http://www.foam.nl
FOAM Photography Museum
Keizersgracht 609 Amsterdam