The artistry of a war photojournalist isn’t a fad that just appeared in the 21st century. According to TIME, “The Crimean War of the 1850s, after all, was arguably where the genre was born, with British photographers like Roger Fenton (1819 – 1869) and James Robertson (1813 – 1888), the Italian-British Felice Beato (1832 – 1909) and the Austro-Hungarian Carol Szathmari (1812 – 1887) making what most historians consider the very first photographs of a major military conflict.” We can see that even in the 1800’s that there were people taking on a job that would put them right in the middle of a war zone. Media was not as big back then as it is today with news stations reporting on the current war situation. These photographers were putting their life on the line in order to document what was happening. They put their life on the line so that we, the people safe in our homes and eating dinner, could be pulled into a situation that we will (hopefully) never be in by looking into the eyes of a child with blood on their face.
Photojournalist Dan Eldon, who was killed while in the middle of a war zone, said “the way to get into this business is to get a one way ticket to hell and stay there long enough to tell a story”. Unfortunately, sometimes that stay becomes your grave. Dan risked his life to tell the story of Somalia during their time of war. He risked his life in order to show the world what was happening to the people there. Being a war journalist is putting yourself front and center of all the killing, of all the shootings, of all the bombings, of all the tears streaming down peoples faces. Do these photographers ever fear for their lives while their looking through that camera and photographing someone that has just been shot? Are they feeling a closer connection to the child in the hospital that has lost both his legs? Are they closer to the children that are sleeping outside and starving?
Times of war not only include guns and tanks, but also atomic bombs. For instance, there were photojournalists at the bombing of Hiroshima. People of Japan were severely injured if they were on the outskirts of the bombing. Men, women, children, it did not matter who was injured when that bomb was dropped. Even after a the detonation of the atomic bomb and the dangers of the aftermath of nuclear poisoning, photographers were still able to get up and take pictures of the bombs victims.
On the flip side of the war between the United States and Japan, there were photographers at the bombing of Pearl Harbor. To be able to see that on two opposing sides of war both having people that are willingly putting themselves at risk to capture a priceless moment in history is astounding. These are people documenting the same war but from opposite sides.
TIME Magazine reference