In all the different types of work I’ve done—editorial, travel, advertising—they’ve all had the same engine driving them, which is that I can’t think of anything that’s better than what happens in real life.
The final installment in a series of four essays revolving around a common theme
"While covering the war in Lebanon in 2006, bombs and missiles were exploding around us, but you never saw who was launching them. It was different from all the wars I had covered before, where you always had a sense of front lines and space and your presence within that space. This might be the way future wars look."
Magnum In Motion begins a new format, a series of four essays in which photographers' imagery, experiences, and commentary come together to explore a given theme.
"WARS," the inaugural series was launched on the Magnum In Motion home page on March 19, five years after the war in Iraq began. It will be published in Slate in four episodes.
Our point of departure was a quote extracted from Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths' 2006 interview conducted in London by Magnum In Motion. The British photographer and author of the book Vietnam Inc. (1971) said with tongue in cheek, "Photographers are either mud people or sand people. I'm a mud person." Three photographers covering conflicts today were asked to react to this quote in light of their own experiences documenting wars.
After completing his first book, Sleeping by the Mississippi, Alec Soth traveled with his wife to Bogotá, Colombia, to adopt a baby girl. While waiting to take Carmen Laura home, the couple spent two months in the city. Carmen’s birth mother had given her a book of letters, pictures, and poems. “I hope that the hardness of the world will not hurt your sensitivity,” she wrote. “I hope that your life is full of beautiful things.” Using her words as a mission statement, Soth started his own book for Carmen, hoping to “describe some of the beauty in this hard place” through his photographs.