Posts Tagged ‘Conflict’

A Nation Continues To Mourn

In Random Moments on November 11, 2016 at 7:54 AM


                                                                                                      Photograph by © Jack Picone

Above: A digital screen playing historical video of  King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand who died on 13 October 2016 after a long illness is reflected in rainwater near Bts Chong Nonsi, Bangkok.

The private sector has canceled all entertainment activities planned for the upcoming Loy Krathong, Christmas and New Year. Though the government has indicated that these activities can be resumed after the ending of the 30-day mourning period on November 14.


A Near Perfect Encapsulation For What a ‘Good Picture’ Should Do.

In Ethics on November 5, 2016 at 12:19 PM

“If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, that’s a good picture” ~ Eddie Adams


Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan (above), chief of the South Vietnamese national police, firing his pistol into the head of a Vietcong prisoner, Nguyen Van Lem, on a Saigon street during the Tet offensive on Feb. 1, 1968. (Eddie Adams/Associated Press)


A combat photographer since the Korean War, Eddie Adams joined the Associated Press team in Vietnam in 1965. He became famous for his 1968 photograph of Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of South Vietnam’s national police, shooting a Viet Cong prisoner in the head. Adams later regretted the picture’s notoriety, preferring to be remembered for his images of Vietnamese refugees after the war.

Adams’s time covering the war and the searing photograph above marks fifty years since the start of America’s first televised war and is symbolic of how dramatic stories authored by photojournalists and journalists brought news about the war to the rest of the world.

Al Jazeera Magazine | War Veterans | August 2014

In Photography News on August 3, 2014 at 5:17 AM

Reflections of a war photographer.

© Words and photos by Jack Picone



I have never felt more intensely alive than I did in the moments before I was certain I was about to die.

This is how war can make you feel.

War. Even the word is ominous.

People sometimes assume that photographers go to war zones because they are adrenaline junkies. This was not the case for me. Obviously, war zones can be adrenaline-charged places, and by helping you to think clearly when faced with danger, that adrenaline can keep you alive. But my motivation for documenting war has been more layered and nuanced than a need to feed some adrenalin craving or an inclination towards voyeurism – another accusation sometimes directed at war photographers.

In my experience, people rarely do extreme things for a singular reason. And willingly entering a war zone is an extreme thing to do. My grandfather had fought in Papua New Guinea during the Second World War and I’d read extensively on the topic; all of which had helped to form the nagging question in my own mind of whether I had the resourcefulness and courage to document such events. At the time I was a staff photographer on a major daily Australian newspaper; a job I found repetitive and unchallenging. So, when the picture editor of that paper asked its 20 staff photographers whether any would be interested in covering the first Iraq War, my response was immediate. I was the only one to say ‘yes’.

But my first war proved anticlimactic as my time in Baghdad was short-lived. I was arrested by Iraqi secret police for transmitting photographs of Iraqi troops crossing the border into Kuwait, put on an empty plane and deported to Jordan.

My first ‘real’ war experience came some after, and it couldn’t have been more different. The Nagorno-Karabakh War had been raging in Armenia since the mid-1980s. I arrived in 1992, aged around 30 and ready to answer the question I’d carried around with me for years: could I keep my head, literally and metaphorically, as I documented an exchange of gunfire between warring soldiers?

I was making my way towards Armenian soldiers positioned in trenches by the side of a mountain when I got my answer. The mountain suddenly reverberated with the sound of gunfire and exploding mortar shells. Ink-blot black clouds snaked their way eerily towards the sky. A shallow hole – a perfect ready-made grave – provided my only cover from the incoming bullets and cluster bombs. I remember thinking as I lay there, that while this was too picturesque a place to be the scene of war, it was certainly a beautiful place to die.

Then I looked up and saw an Armenian soldier signal for me to run to him. His trench was only about 80m away, but that short run seemed to go on forever. I took some shrapnel in the lower back and head but I was alive. My heart pounded, adrenaline surged through my body and I felt that kind of affirming, edifying euphoria that comes with escaping death.

On reflection, I can conservatively estimate that I should have been killed at least five times over by now: once at the hands of a mob in Rwanda, another time in southern Sudan, when a Sudanese government soldier put his pistol to my temple and screamed that he was going to pull the trigger. On both occasions, only a chance intervention helped me cheat death.

I have worked in some of the most dangerous places on the planet: Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Gaza Strip, Israel, Soviet Central Asia and the former Yugoslavia. It could be argued that most of these were unconventional wars, where armed groups and rebel factions took each other on and where it was possible for a photographer to cover both – or indeed multiple – sides of the conflict. Far from being embedded with one side or the other, as you might in Iraq or Afghanistan, a photographer in less structured conflicts can cross enemy lines, evading censorship and propaganda. But these wars also pose their own challenges – leaving you open to accusations of spying and making it much easier to ‘disappear’.

During many of the African conflicts I covered, photographers and journalists were killed at roadblocks by bored soldiers, who were often stoned, drunk or both. It’s no mystery why they were targeted. War photographers can carry more money and equipment than a rebel soldier in an underfunded rag-tag army can hope to earn in years.

Having escaped death several times, I gained a new-found confidence that I could document the ‘bang bang’, as seasoned war photographers sometimes refer to it, and stay alive. But with this came the realisation that documenting war really ought to involve more than simply photographing soldiers. What seemed exponentially more important was telling the stories of the innocent people – the children, women and elderly men – caught in its crossfire. I shifted my focus from the frontlines to the ordinary people on the edges of war.

Apart from the inbuilt danger of working in a war zone, photographing war is a philosophical, emotional, ethical and moral minefield (pun intended). On many occasions, I have found myself questioning what I was documenting. But the decision about whether or not to press the shutter has to be made in a micro-second and is fraught with responsibility.

I haven’t always made the right choice. During the famine in Somalia in 1992, I photographed an infant cradled in the arms of an aid worker. “You can stop taking pictures now Jack,” the nurse told me in her thick Irish accent. “The baby just died.” The thought that the last thing that child saw was me photographing it, has haunted me ever since. The fact that the aid agency had asked me to photograph them at work in order to help publicise the desperate plight of the Somali people offered no consolation. I was inconsolable.

A photographer has a role to play in a war zone: to bear witness, to make the invisible visible, the unheard heard and to create a visual history. For me, these tenets have acted as a filter for all but the most horrific situations I have encountered in the theatre of war. But the emotional torment often followed me home. In denial, I told myself, my friends and my family that I was unaffected by what I saw. But then the nightmares began. The emotional hangover from witnessing and documenting violence too dark to describe exacted its toll. I self-medicated with alcohol and drugs, which only worsened my problems. I still haven’t come to terms with what I’ve witnessed, but I have stopped trying to use substances to control my emotions and am instead simply trying to co-exist with the discord.

War is many things, most of them barbaric. But what disturbs me most about it is its repetitiveness: the same play, just with a new cast. That being said, nothing seems more important to me than documenting the plight of those caught up in it. Right at this very moment, human beings are frenetically killing each other in countries across the world. All we can really do is bear witness; to hold up a mirror to man’s inhumanity to man in the scant hope that future generations will succeed where we have so conclusively failed and break the cycle.

image003 image007 image image028 image030 image032 image034 image036 image038 image040 image042 image044 image046 image048 image050 image052 image054 image056 image058


Note: You can download the Al Jazeera App — for free — to view and read Part 1, in its entirety. I really recommend downloading the App for a dynamic experience including still image galleries, moving 3D images and brilliant layout.
Click here to download the latest issue via iTunes: and on Android devices: 
Compatible with iPhone (5, 5S and 5C), Android tablets and phones.


Jack Picone is an Australian, Bangkok-based photojournalist and documentary photographer who has been covering war zones since the early 1990s. He has travelled from the Middle East to Eastern Europe and multiple countries on the African continent documenting the fall-out from war.


I Am A Sniper by Ed Giles

In Photography News on December 9, 2012 at 3:09 AM

“The Martyrs of Truth”



                                                                                                                                  © Photographs by Ed Giles

View this compelling (and at times chilling) report by  Ed Giles  who recently joined Syrian rebels fighting for the Free Syrian Army as they venture into Aleppo’s no-man’s land. The unit’s senior fighter Anas (who Ed’s report largely centers around) leads around 50 men, called Shuhada e-haq, or “The Martyrs of Truth”. Yet to be known, Anas will become a casualty of war. Having personally been on the receiving end of a sniper’s delivery in various conflicts, and witnessing the violence and horror of their work, Giles’ report resonates with me. This report affords a view (rarely seen) and communicates an understanding of the motivations underpinning a snipers deadly work.

Please View here:

Jack Picone


Life and Death in Aleppo

In Ethics, Photography News, Street Photography on November 10, 2012 at 10:05 PM

The following events took place in ALEPPO, Syria – in September 2012

Tracey Shelton displays extraordinary courage under fire while documenting the ongoing conflict in Syria.

“On this morning, the men were relaxed and joking around as they cleaned their area from a tank attack the day before. That time, they had been prepared and the tank had fired too short. This time, the assault came with little warning”.

View Shelton’s report  here:                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                    © Tracey Shelton


War Photographer

In Ethics on August 12, 2011 at 4:04 AM

War Photographer

In his darkroom he is finally alone
with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.
The only light is red and softly glows,
as though this were a church and he
a priest preparing to intone a Mass.
Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.
He has a job to do. Solutions slop in trays
beneath his hands which did not tremble then
though seem to now. Rural England. Home again
to ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel,
to fields which don’t explode beneath the feet
of running children in a nightmare heat.
Something is happening. A stranger’s features
faintly start to twist before his eyes,
a half-formed ghost. He remembers the cries
of this man’s wife, how he sought approval
without words to do what someone must
and how the blood stained into foreign dust.
A hundred agonies in black-and-white
from which his editor will pick out five or six
for Sunday’s supplement. The reader’s eyeballs prick
with tears between bath and pre-lunch beers.
From  an aeroplane he stares impassively at where
he earns a living and they do not care.

 War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy  


Meditation On The Death Of A Hero

In Photography News on June 3, 2011 at 4:21 AM

An insightful, thought-provoking and beautifully written piece on conflict photography by  Melanie Light. It centres around the recent demise of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros both killed while covering the ongoing political turmoil in Libya.

Curiously enough, I had just had a conversation with a very talented young multimedia journalist who is being seduced by the powerful current that is war photography. I was imparting to him the acute danger associated with covering conflict and asking him to question the true worth of it, to himself, family and friends.

My animated and at times passionate delivery to him, heavily laden with reasons why not to go down this particular path, felt somewhat hypocritical as it left my lips.

Sadly, I could see my rhetoric was not reaching its mark.



War: A Book By Degree South

In Photography News on April 21, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Jon Levy editor of Foto8 reviews War: A Degree South Collection #1 (from Issue 27 of 8 Magazine).

°SOUTH also called ‘Degree South’, is a photographic collective of Australia’s most creative and award-winning documentary photographers who have covered conflicts from Vietnam to present day Afghanistan.

The contributors to War and the conflicts they cover for the book:

Tim Page – Vietnam and Laos
David Dare Parker – East Timor and Indonesia
Ben Bohane – Burma, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Kenya, Tibet, Solomon Islands, West Papua
Stephen Dupont – Afghanistan, Angola, East Timor, Palestine, Rwanda
Jack Picone – Angola, Bosnia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan
Michael Coyne – Iran
Ashley Gilbertson – Iraq
Sean Flynn – Vietnam (Honourary Member & Absent Friend)

MPLA Government soldiers attack  and shoot a young unarmed Angolan man who refused forceful conscription by Government soldiers, 1993 Angola.  © Photographs by Jack Picone

“Restrepo” director Tim Hetherington killed in Libya

In Photography News on April 20, 2011 at 11:26 PM

I have just received the sad and shocking news that Tim Hetherington has been killed on assignment in Libya.

Tim was working with Chris Hondros when they took mortar fire on Tripoli Street, the main thoroughfare leading into the center of Misrata.

It is now confirmed that Chris has died as well.

Tim was a friend and colleague.

Rest in peace Tim and Chris.

Please view the Reuters account of this tragic event.



C 1

In Photography News on April 8, 2011 at 11:31 PM

Andrea Francolini friend and photograher passed this onto me.

For anyone making multimedia this will extend the pallet of tools to work with.

It is cutting edge.

Have a look at  Condition ONE