Many regard James Nachtwey as one of present days’ most acknowledged photojournalists. He originally studied Art History and Political Science at Dartmouth College between 1966 and 1970, but images from the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights Movement got him interested in photography. The following years, Nachtwey taught himself photography while working as an apprentice news film editor and as a truck driver.
He began his photographic career in 1976 as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico and moved to New York to work as a freelance photographer in 1980. He landed his first foreign assignment the following year, which took him to Northern Ireland where he covered the unrest during the hunger strikes. Since then he has documented wars, conflicts and social problems in over 30 countries, some of these for Time Magazine. Nachtwey has reported on wars in Chechnya, Bosnia and Iraq. He has photographed famine and pollution. Recently he photographed the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, as well as the Syrian refugee situation.
“I have been a witness and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated”, proclaims Nachtwey.
In 2001, Nachtwey was portrayed in the Oscar nominated documentary film War Photographer. He has won many prizes including the Robert Capa Prize and the World Press Photo Award.