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November 8, 2013

Modern war photographers take us all to war

(Continued)

Stanley Greene

It was the eminent photojournalist W. Eugene Smith whose words shaped Greene's career. Smith had warned Greene of becoming a poet of photography, covering topics of little value, because the world needed concerned photographers. It was the 1970s. Greene gave up his life in San Francisco photographing punk and rock stars and moved to Paris, where he immersed himself in the ideas of the cafe society. In 1989 he was solidly in the social-documentary world as he stood, camera in hand, watching the Berlin Wall break apart. Four years later he was the only photographer inside the White House in Moscow when Parliament tried to stage a coup against Boris Yeltsin.

But it was Chechnya and the rebels within that commandeered Greene's attention for the next decade, resulting in his book "Open Wound." "At first war photography seemed like a way to test myself, to exist on a knife-edge where there is constant proof of being alive," writes Greene. "Today covering conflicts is quite simply a very personal form of protest."

Greene's most recent work is of the rebels in Syria.

Lynsey Addario

Recognizing that the oppression of women was a story within the story of the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Addario traveled to Kabul as a freelancer. She photographed weddings and life behind the veil of a burqa. Then 9/11 happened. When war arrived, Addario donned her flak jacket and traveled to the battlefields and prisons of Afghanistan and Iraq as easily as she had visited families and the meeting places of the Taliban. "As a female photojournalist, I fall into this nebulous category of a third sex: I have access to both men and women," she writes. "I can cover combat with my male colleagues, but am also able to work inside the home, in intimate family settings, while it is culturally unacceptable for my male colleagues to do the same." Addario has covered conflicts in Lebanon, Darfur, Congo and Libya and continues to highlight the women and children of war, who suffer the consequences of decisions made around them. In 2009 she received a MacArthur Fellowship.

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