An abundance of subject matter over the past decade has delivered a new generation of war photographers, and a new wave of deaths among those who feel compelled to photograph conflict. Just recently we have lost the French photographer Rémi Ochlik to the Syrian government, and last year it was Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington – killed in Misrata, during the Libyan revolution.
It is easy to see what makes a journalist travel to places of unrest, and while it is equally easy to romanticise war, I don’t honestly believe many photographers head to a danger zone having not thought very carefully about what they are doing.
To put your life on the line, as these people do, you have to be pretty passionate about what you are photographing. Either the injustice of the conflict has to move you, or the general principle of informing the world about what is going on in a particular region will draw you there. The cause may be worth dying for, but the effect is often not. Certainly in the UK, the population at large is more concerned with Dancing on Ice than anything beyond the bare facts of crises in foreign states. It is right these events are witnessed and shared, but I wonder if I could do it.
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