Christian Long

James Nachtwey: Searing Photos of War

In TED Talks on May 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

Reflection by MILES W.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

James Nachtwey:  Searing Photos of War

When I go this talk I thought it was going to be mainly about in-war photography. I thought there were going to be soldiers shooting, breaking into suspect houses, rescuing civilians from hostile situations, mainly the pro-war, ‘look at how great our soldiers are kind of thing. I thought that the talk was going to be centered on things that glorify war. But as I watched the video, I soon learned that it wasn’t about the soldiers, the guns, or the glory.

The pictures were about the other side of the war that you don’t see. The people who are affected by the guns. The people whose houses are invaded, the people that we usually see as the enemy.

This video opened my eyes up to another dimension of war that I knew about but never thought about.

When you think of war, you think, something that takes place far away in some other land. Something that has no direct impact on my life and only the soldiers fighting in it. But that is where most people are wrong. War affects many more people than just the soldiers. Most Americans do not see this as the case because we have never had our homes stormed in mass by a foreign invader. We are used to sending troops to some place far far away to take care of the ‘bad guys’. But this video shows who is truly affected by war. There are innocent people who are casualties of wars going on everyday that we do not see. Innocent men, women, and children, whose lives have been altered due to the hostility of one another.

The one time we as Americans have ever truly felt the feeling that many people across the world go through everyday was 9/11.

We were for the first time hit home where we thougth we were safe just like many of the people across world did. The WAR was brought home to where many innocent people lost lives and were rocked by the hostility of the world we live in. But this served as an eye-opening experience to us just like this video did for me. It showed how war is not just the one-sided affair that many of us see it as. War is everywhere at all times, even though we may not know it.

This video allows us to truly see what it is like from more than just the view of ‘USA, USA, USA!!!’ and lets us understand that war has many dimensions, both good and evil, happy and sad.

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