As many of you know, James Nachtwey, has been working to bring awareness to the plight of underrepresented people and stories for the last 20 or so years. More recently, his work has focused on on health issues that face the developing world.
As a culmination of his work over the last 18 months, since winning the TED prize, Nachtwey has assembled a striking essay on the effects of exteme drug resistant tuberculosis around the world. Go here to see the photos and read the text that explains the work and what we, as world citizens, can do to affect change on this front.
There has been a bit of grumbling around the interent about how the project was announced, too commercial, too hyped, etc. but I think Nachtwey’s reputation and the work itself ought to shut the gates on that. It is so hard to get this type of story into the public consciouness these days, that I think any photographer who uses the power and influence they possess to bring awareness to the issue at hand should be commended. Yes, there are probably types of marketing that could be deemed to heavy handed or offensive to be used to promote this kind of story, but the Nachtwey effort is does not, in my mind, fall anywhere close.
I have heard criticism of Nachtwey’s supposed personal detachment and practically obsessive devotion to his trade, but to produce the body of work he has made over the last 20 years may indeed take the single minded focus he exhibits when talking and acting in relation to his projects. His devotion seems pure and the attention he has brought to ignored topics around the globe can not easily be equaled. You decide, but I find the tuberculosis project to be yet another example of what photojournalism can and should be.