I absolutely love great photojournalism. I've always believed that photographs should tell a story, and photojournalists are often masters of this skill. Most individuals only know photojournalism as the photos that appear alongside news stories. In reality, a larger, and much deeper, world of phenomenal photography exists beyond this realm. Often times, truly remarkable photography is displayed by major magazines and news agencies in the form of photoessays. The Big Picture, however, brings to light wonderful works of photojournalistic art that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. I've written about The Big Picture before, and their content never fails to impress me.
A pair of ISAF soldiers stand on a hillside overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan on the night of January 11, 2008 (ISAF Photos)
In one of their most recent postings, The Big Picture highlights photographs taken by and of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is the UN Security Council's mission in Afghanistan that works separate from the United State's "Operation Enduring Freedom." The task force is "presently made up of over 53,000 troops from 43 different nations," which represents a large cross-section of world cultures. Living in the United States, one usually only hears about American troops overseas, which is a direct result of domestic ethnocentricity preached to the nation on both a local and national level. It is great to see these foreign troops appreciated, especially through these wonderful photographs. One thing that really jumped out at me in the image above is the landscape of the city at night. Anyone familiar with San Diego county knows that the climate and landscape of East County has much in common with the geography found in the Middle East. This photograph, complete with the illuminated antennas on the distant mountaintop, could have easily been taken in El Cajon or Santee.
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the ISAF monitor a valley during a mission near Kunduz, Afghanistan on September 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)
Though I am not an advocate of war, and I strongly believe in peaceful diplomacy abroad, a large part of me wishes to become a war photographer. The emotional intensity involved with any conflict or war provides many opportunities for great photography and storytelling. As with any art form, I have seen many lackluster war photographs. But truly great photojournalists can take a simple subject--such as a soldier standing on a hillside--and create a feeling of wonder and awe. In addition to this, war photographers stand alone in their ability to truly capture the human side of war. Through their work, direct human emotion can be conveyed. Stories can be told, and lives can be touched. Photographs can inspire hope, and alternately fuel sadness and rage. The images I have posted here are only a sample of the truly great works of art found in The Big Picture's post on the ISAF efforts in Afghanistan, and I encourage everyone to click through explore this great photojournalism resource.
Photographs courtesy of The Big Picture, posted without commercial intent and solely for the purpose of increasing awareness of their blog.