Images can cut right to the heart of an issue and offer an honest unvarnished look at our world. Host Mike Walter interviewed photographers who have captured some of history’s most iconic photos.
Photos make a ‘huge difference’
Carol Guzy is a four-time Pulitzer Prizer winner, twice for her work in Haiti. Despite photographing scenes of devastation and death, Carol still manages to find hope in her subjects.
“There’s always that beautiful angel that swoops in,” Guzy said, referring to a photo she took in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti . “Something so natural, like a couple holding hands, walking through this Armageddon scene. It’s their humanity. I mean, they haven’t lost that.”
For Guzy, photos have the potential to create real change. When tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians fled Kosovo, Guzy documented the patients left behind in psychiatric wards.
“The patients were literally taking care of themselves … It was like a Hitchcock movie. And you can’t photograph smell, but I’ll never get that smell out of my nostrils,” she said.
After her photos were published, an aid group went to the wards with nurses to help the patients.
“I think images make a huge difference in just raising awareness and potential change. But that was one of the cases where it was immediate,” Guzy said.
Disappearing into the story
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photos taken by Ross Baughman revealed the violence committed by the white minority Rhodesian government.
“I watched one local black politician tortured to death over three days and I was able to take pictures,” Baughman said.
To get close to a story, Baughman has had to feign sympathies with certain groups. In Rhodesia, he wore a military uniform. To infiltrate white supremacists, Baughman wore a Nazi uniform with a swastika armband.
“If we want to think of a kind of a headline for my career, it would be “The Fellow Traveler,” because I travel with the group, whatever it is,” Baughman said.
Covering war at home
Photographer Lori Grinker spent 15 years of her life crisscrossing the world documenting the impacts of war. She was able to see war firsthand on September 11, 2001, capturing some of the most memorable images from that day.
“I never thought I’d see something like that the day of it was so shocking and it was so surreal,” she said.
Now, another war is unfolding: the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-Latam is a collective of photographers reflecting on what’s happening to Latin Americans during the pandemic.
“The essence of this project is try to generate different approach that is more like a chorus, trying to create a Latin American vision,” said Sebastian Gil Miranda, a photographer based in Argentina.
Another photographer, Glorianna Ximendaz of Costa Rica, says photography is a way to change people’s understanding of reality.
“Through the photos we see intimacy … There are also very tough situation like in Brazil, or Peru. It gives us a much broader vision of what is happening,” she said.