Skip to content

Press Release

James Nacthwey
New Work

September 8 through October 22, 2005
Reception for the Artist, Thursday, September 8, 7 – 9 p.m.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is proud to present the photographs of the award-winning photojournalist James Nachtwey. Nachtwey has dedicated himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. Through his photographs, Nachtwey becomes the witness for a collective social conscience capturing what would otherwise go unseen. His images are compelling accounts of fear, grief, pain and human suffering. He states that, "these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated." This exhibition will feature images from a variety of recent work including: Iraq, homeless children in Indonesia, heroin addicts in Pakistan, the genocidal crisis in Darfur, the tsunami, wounded American military from Iraq.

David Schonauer, Editor-in-Chief of American Photo has said of Nachtwey, "[He] understands the power of the universal language of photography to capture a meaningful image that communicates the truth and essence of the historical moment." Like all artists/communicators, James Nachtwey is compiling historical records infused with his talents as a messenger to produce images that transcend the written word. One might say that Nachtwey is doing with his photographs what Picasso did with his painting, "Guernica," expressing his outrage at what humanity brings upon itself.

James Nachtwey states, "For me, the strength of photography lies in its ability to evoke a sense of humanity. If war is an attempt to negate humanity, then photography can be perceived as the opposite of war and if it is used well it can be a powerful ingredient in the antidote to war. In a way, if an individual assumes the risk of placing himself in the middle of a war in order to communicate to the rest of the world what is happening, he is trying to negotiate for peace. Perhaps that is the reason why those in charge of perpetuating a war do not like to have photographers around. It has occurred to me that if everyone could be there just once to see for themselves what white phosphorous does to the face of a child or what unspeakable pain is caused by the impact of a single bullet or how a jagged piece of shrapnel can rip someone's leg off - if everyone could be there to see for themselves the fear and the grief, just one time, then they would understand that nothing is worth letting things get to the point where that happens to even one person, let alone thousands."

James Nachtwey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College (1966-1970), 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. In 1976, he started work as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980 moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer. His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike.

Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time since 1984. In 2001, he co-founded VII - a photo agency/archive. His two published monographs include "Deeds of War," Thames & Hudson, 1989 & "Inferno," Phaidon, 2000.