"If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." - Robert Capa
War photographer James Nachtwey has been close enough for twenty years. Over this time he hasn't missed a single war. And he probably has seen more suffering and dying than anyone else alive.
For WAR PHOTOGRAPHER, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Christian Frei followed Nachtwey for two years into the wars in Indonesia, Kosovo, and Palestine, as well as to other troubled areas around the world.
If we believe Hollywood pictures, war photographers are all hard-boiled and cynical old troopers. How can they think about 'exposure time' at the very moment of dread? But James Nachtwey is no rumbling swaggerer. He is an unobtrusive man, with grey hair and the deliberation of a professor of philosophy. A thoughtful, rather shy person - who many think of as the bravest and best war photographer ever.
Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent of CNN, Hans-Hermann Klare, Foreign Editor of Stern MagazineGeo Saison Magazine and other friends and colleagues of Nachtwey talk about his photos, his relationship to his work, and the impact it has on his personal life. And many of his most powerful images are shown in the film.
Finally, and most amazingly, in WAR PHOTOGAPHER special video micro-cameras are attached to Nachtwey's still camera. We hear every breath of the photographer. We participate in the act of shooting war photos. And for the first time in the history of movies about photographers, this technique allows us the most intimate insight into the work of a concerned photojournalist.
"A great photojournalist and a genuine hero!"—Peter Ranier, New York Magazine
2004 Peabody Award
2001 Academy Award® Nominee for Best Documentary Feature
Premiere, 2001 Amsterdam International Documentary Festival
2002 Human Rights Watch Film Festival
2003 Society for Photograpic Education Film Festival
"A remarkable film about a remarkable man."—Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Portrays a committed, almost shy man, who moves with agility and care through the scenarios he is recording. The musical score emphasizes the dignified yet urgent nature of the subject matter, and despite the images of horror and tragedy, the film is a work of somber beauty."—Al Jadid, A Review and Record of Arab Culture and Arts
"Engrossing! Exceptionally intimate, allowing us almost literally to see the world through Mr. Nachtwey's eyes."—New York Times