Photographer Insight: James Nachtwey

James Nachtwey is an American photojournalist and war photographer that has served as an inspiration to scores of people entering the world of photojournalism. His relentless work ethic and unique style and vision has brought him much attention and yet, Jim is quite reserved and very humble with which he receives compliments or showcases his work.

A quick look at his website will essentially show his reluctance for grandiose displays and the ethics of doing his job of giving people a chance to voice their grief. Nachtwey graduated from Dartmouth College studying Art History and Political Science. The two fields would converge with his work, taking him to places which require him to quickly understand the context of the situation and present them with focus and depth. 

Nachtwey started working as a newspaper journalist in 1976 for the Albuquerque journal and later moved to New York as a freelance journalist. He covered his first international assignment in Northern Ireland - documenting civil strife in 1981 and has since covered several wars and assignments such as the 2004 Tsunami and poverty in Indonesia. He is known among people in the field for always being in the thick of things and always pushing forward to do what he does best, regardless of the circumstances or state of affairs. Having covered several wars, Nachtwey has been in several situations that were life threatening but it was in Iraq that he received his first combat injury when insurgents threw a grenade into the Humvee in which Nachtwey and correspondent Michale Weisskopf were traveling in. Weisskopf tried to throw the grenade out of the vehicle but it exploded in his hand injuring himself, Nachtwey and two other soldiers. Nachtwey took several photographs of paramedics in action before passing out. He was later airlifted to Germany and then to a hospital in the United States.