Interviews for this feature were conducted around the Behind The Lens event in New York. For further information on BTL events contact Jennifer Burak at

“The people are already lean – they’re running everywhere. The women especially were affected by the siege. Mothers will always feed their families first, their children, then their menfolk and themselves last. They called it the Karadžic´ diet after the man who was besieging them.
 “They lost around 20 kilos of weight. They did the things our grandmothers did in World War II. They invented recipes, made perfume from rose petals, painted the back of their legs to make them look like stockings. It was amazing to see. After months and months without dairy foods, animal fats, their skin became incredibly clear and their hair was shiny and they were fit because they ran everywhere.
 “Of course, the psychological toll of standing in a water queue and thinking a mortar would drop anytime was intense.”

“What you see in this image is commuting Sarajevo-style across sniper alley. Notice the flat shoes and how they’re running for their lives. At this particular intersection many people died but they had to cross if they wanted food and water.
 “The psychology of sniping is an amazing thing. You can terrify a whole city by killing people cold-bloodedly. The psychology of fear is much more effective than artillery and mortars.
 “If you think someone is looking at you and they’re going to put a telescopic sight on you and blow you away – it’s terrifying.”
In a world of 24/7 news, the Internet and multichannel tv, reportage is no longer a unique window on the world. Documentary photography is not only competing for our attention in an intense information culture, it’s competing with a noisy, constant-update culture. How can a still image have any impact? Photographers and newspaper editors are consequently breaking out into new directions in reportage. It’s about imagery that slows the pace of things, and visual storytelling that depends on intimacy.

Slowed-down stories
Mary Ann Golan, picture editor of Time magazine, says, “I believe photojournalism is something that causes you to stop and reflect. In a speeded-up society, photojournalism has a definite place. People want to slow down. They want to understand.”

The techniques at the forefront of this new direction in reportage are the quotes and insights supplied by the photographers, such as Tom Stoddart, and the use of medium- and large-format photography.

Kate Edwards, picture editor of The Guardian Weekend magazine, sees the value in words coming from a photographer as well, or, instead, of those coming from a journalist covering the same story. “The quotes photographers get are much more tied to their images, and inevitably link back to them,” says Edwards. “We always really, really welcome it, whether we use them or not. It adds a different dimension.”

Time is even adding audio commentary from photographers on its website. “We’re having our photographers do little interviews with people, to create more than just a caption,” says Golan. “I think very good photojournalism is based on intimacy – intimacy between the photographer and the subject. It’s an incredible relationship.”


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