INsight Artist, 2008
“I am a witness and I want my testimony to be honest and uncensored. I also want it to be powerful and eloquent and do justice to the people I’m photographing.” —James Nachtwey
James Nachtwey decided to teach himself photography after seeing images from Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement. After graduating from Dartmouth he worked as a truck driver and on merchant ships, acquiring skills that would prove useful in his chosen occupation. After working as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, he moved to New York in 1980.
He has been a contract photographer with Time since 1984, was a member of Magnum from 1986 – 2001, and is one of the founding members of the photo agency, VII. David Reiff of the L.A. Times called his book Inferno “not just a moral triumph but an aesthetic one.” In 2007 Nachtwey was one of three winners of the TED Prize, an award “dedicated to ideas worth spreading”.
Nachtwey’s work has been exhibited internationally, and his numerous honors include the Robert Capa Gold Medal (five times), the World Press Photo Award (twice), Magazine Photographer of the Year (seven times), the ICP Infinity Award (three times), and the Martin Luther King Award.
"Along with bravery and perseverance, Mr. Nachtwey’s pictorial virtue makes him a model war photographer. He doesn’t mix up his priorities. His goal is to bear witness, because somebody must, and his pictures, devised to infuriate and move people to action, are finally about us, and our concern or lack of it, at least as much they are about him and his obvious talents." —Michael Kimmelman, NY Times