Laureates 2003

2003 Present - Print & Electronic Media

James Nachtwey

jnachtJames Nachtwey is no ordinary photojournalist. He has dedicated his life to documenting the apocalyptic events of our time: war, famine, man's inhumanity to man, the plight of the disenfranchised all over the world. With the eye of an artist and the instincts of a journalist, he creates images that are both appalling and profound. His photographs may not be easy to look at but they are impossible to ignore.

This is Nachtwey's goal: to burden viewers with such an uncomfortable awareness that it will force them to seek justice and change. He says, "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." His photographs on AIDS in Africa were published in Time magazine and were shown in the U.S. Congress; they helped lead to legislation requiring drug companies to provide cheaper generic drugs to fight the disease.

James Nachtwey's work is astonishing in its diversity, its beauty and in the electrical charge of Nachtwey's commitment to making incredible images even in the face of tremendous personal danger. He is an inspiration not only to photojournalists but to people everywhere.

James Nachtwey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, where he studied art history and political science. Images from the Vietnam war and the American Civil Rights movement had a powerful effect on him and were instrumental in his decision to become a photographer.

Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts, and critical social issues. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil, and the United States.

James Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time magazine since 1984. He has received numerous honors and awards. He is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art.