Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Bang Bang Club
The Bang Bang Club: Snapshots From a Hidden War
by Greg Marinovich & Joao Silva
2000, Basic Books
The Bang Bang Club is more than a book about photographers addicted to the rush of covering conflict. It's a revealing account of the social and political turmoil of South Africa in the early 1990's.
Greg Marinovich, Joao Silva, Ken Oosterbroek, Kevin Carter and Gary Bernard were five photographers, five friends covering the final years of South Africa's bloody struggle to establish democracy and majority rule. They formed the core of a group of photojournalists that became known as "The Bang Bang Club."
Authors Marinovich and Silva, give us an up-close look at what it takes to be an effective photojournalist in the midst of the grossest brutality of which humankind is capable. They dispel the myth of objective journalism and testify to the reality that no one survives war and conflict unaffected: not combatant, civilian, journalist or photographer. To a large degree the book is about, "paying the price."
Although this group of photographers may be little known in the U.S., they are are held in the highest esteem in the international community of photojournalists. You may not recognize their names, but you know their Pulitzer Prize and Ilford Award winning images.
I would certainly recommend reading The Bang Bang Club. It is at times a bit self indulgent and the book's photo reproductions are disappointing. However it provides a unique perspective on a most troubled period of our most recent past,s and it really is an eyes-wide-opened look at an often too glamorized profession.