Visual culture production is a distinct kind of multimedia production that mainly entails the production of pictures and other visuals that are meant to tell about important historical events of significance. As a field of study it encompasses a combination of art history, cultural studies, philosophy, anthropology, critical theory and it does so by basically taking greater focus on societal qualities that rely on visual impressions. This paper focuses on the work of James Natchwey’s work across various nations at war and how his visual culture production has been able to accentuate the issue of war in humanity and its effects. According to Nachtwey (2011), his work has elicited calls of generosity, mass actions, the sense of what is right or wrong, general awareness and so much more that has positively contributed to the developments of the transformation of wars to peaceful moments as people that experience the power of his work come into to contact his works. Natchwey’s work of photography not only serves an informative purpose, but it also elicits affirmative action from amongst the populace that comes in to contact with his work through generous contributions and participation in activities such as resistance against negative governmental policies and mass actions-all meant to build positive awareness and response towards war and its evil, merciless atrocities (Natchtwey, 2011). His work shows the influence, effects, causes and methodologies employed in war, which are many at times unfair, evil, unjustified and out-rightly hellish. A part from Natchwey; there are other numerous photojournalists such as Tim Hetherington that have been very successful in bringing similar stories to the world from places such as Afghanistan and Libya (Melia & LeGro, 2011). Unlike Nachtwey, Tim Hetherington was not lucky enough to emerge from his last assignment in Libya where he died of injuries sustained from Gaddafi’s forces air strikes (Corliss, 2011).
A keen and careful assessment of Natchwey’s presentations reveals an emotional undertone that implies that he might have been psychologically disturbed during most of his undertakings. However, he wisely chose not to be distracted by his emotions like explicitly stated during the coverage of the South African apartheid case. Natchwey chose to use his negative emotions and anger to portray the inherent evil nature of humanity and its ability to get ruthless against its own self due to subtle perceived differences that exist within humanity.
A large number of his works were covered during times of social and civil unrest in various locations all round the globe. His works covers conflict in various continents and nations such as South Africa, Israel, Lebanon, Serbia, Somalia, and Rwanda among many others that were hot spots in the commission of some of the worst atrocities all round the globe (Natchtwey, 2011).
So far, Natchwey has been able to accomplish his role as an informer, social reformer and champion for change and pro-activity. In his presentation Natchwey explicitly states how various humanitarian agencies were able to respond to his works and help save lives (Natchtwey, 2011). According to him his works were purposefully intended to create awareness, develop clarity, and provide alternative views to political mishaps or inactivity in moments of failure. Conclusively, his work is heavily credited with making the world aware of the predicaments of the innocent people at war.
Natchwey’s approach to photojournalism is far beyond journalism and can be simply defined in one word-phenomenal! His photography elicits pity, mercy and infuriation at the same time. One compassionately views the suffering, but at the same time gets so angered by the root causes and suffering caused by the perpetrators of the crimes in war.
After watching Natchwey’s work I was able to come to reality about issues related to war, and my basic conclusion could be simply defined by this statement-war is totally unwarranted, and there is no justification whatsoever for any humans to treat their fellow human beings in such ways under whatever circumstances. His work reveals that human humanity can be cruel against itself without regard for fellow humans simply due to slight perceived differences such as color and ethnicity.
Conclusively, Natchwey’s work has been able to elicit the right and intended aspects of most photo-journalistic efforts. Therefore, I can conclusively state that indeed photo-journalism is an essential part of life in society and as such it serves a purpose that no other media can serve in war moments in war moments with such effects. Photojournalism enables common citizenry to grasp what would otherwise have been totally hidden from them. It helps in decisive decision-making and development of human existence (Newton 2001). In conclusion we arrive at one general acceptance-that indeed photojournalism tells a story that is otherwise not able to be told at times when no one has the capacity to record or tell the story. Many at times as citizens among the common citizenry we know very little about what may be ongoing in foreign nations (Newton, 2001). For examples the engagement in Vietnam was far beyond our reach as citizens and there was no knowledge as to what was exactly taking place. Therefore, there was a false perception about the war generated by groups of individuals’ organizations with self interest. However, through positive photojournalism as provided by Natchwey and many others the common citizenry was able to realize the truth about the war and identify with the suffering and pain that it caused upon the populations of innocent citizens.
Corliss, R. (2011),. Tim Hetherington: War hero who shot with a camera: Time.com. Retrieved on 1st May 2011 from http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2066841,00.html
Melia, M. and LeGro, T. (2011),. Photographer, film maker Tim Hetherington killed in Libya-PBS News.org. Retrieved on 1st May 2011 from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/blog/2011/04/photographer-filmmaker-tim-hetherington-among-journalists-killed-in-libay.html
Natchtwey, J. (2011),. James Natchtwey’s searing photos of war: Ted.com. Retrieved on 1st May 2011 from http://www.ted.com/talks/james_nachtwey_s_searing_pictures_of_war.html
Newton, H. J. (2001),. The burden of visual truth: the role of photojournalism in mediating reality: Routledge Publishers