Africa’s photojournalists: The wars are not over by Greg Marinovich (Daily Maverick), 25 June 2013, South Africa
War photographers are either sleazy and glamorous, or noble and glamorous. At least this is what you will think if you believe the various literary or big screen adaptions of photojournalists over the years.
The first famous camp-follower’s tale was Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, set in the fictitious Ishmaelia (read Ethiopia/Abyssinia) in the 1930’s. The latest film adaption of a book on photojournalists is The Bang Bang Club, very loosely based on Joao Silva and Greg Marinovich’s book of the same name about South Africa’s bloody transition to democracy.
One might think that there would be a flowering of photojournalism in the continent that inspired those two books, albeit without the quarter-ton of luggage required by the correspondents of old. There is, after all, no shortage of conflict, famine and war on the continent to provide numerous scoops.
Yet when conflict photographers gather in hotspots to rekindle camaraderies in dimly-lit hotels to the accompaniment of throbbing generators, few Africans are among them. The glaring exception is South Africans. With all the conflicts in Africa, one would expect more than the few war photographers who have emerged.