Research log – James Nachtwey

The client

My task is to write an article for VICE media about an icon of my choice. For this I had to find out about the client in order to focus my article around their style.

What is VICE media?

VICE is the first and only internationally distributed youth culture magazine. It was founded in 1994 in Montreal, Canada. They then went on to expand to having a website, record label, and a film production company.

What platforms do they broadcast on and which are most successful?

The VICE broadcast platforms are a television production suite, a magazine, a record label, feature films, events and a book publishing division. Their most successful platforms are VICE TV and

What is the profile of their audience?

The VICE audience is 37% Female and 63% Male. The average age of viewers is 27.6.

5 words often associated with VICE are:

Controversial, Graphic, Cultural, Relatable and Educational.

The icon I have chose to write about is James Nachtwey. 

In my article I want to discuss the idea, does James Nachtwey profit from war and suffering? For this ill have to research about James’ life and the history of his career, what motivates him to photograph suffering like he does? Do his photographs make a difference to humanity and the people involved?

I will be writing the article for the VICE website. I think VICE is the suitable platform for my article as James Nachtwey’s work is almost on another level to other photographers. He gets very close and personal to the subject he photographs and witnesses suffering on many levels. His work can be very controversial as people discuss the idea that he could be helping them instead of photographing their distress and suffering.

About James Nachtwey.

Information relating to the life and history of James. Various awards he has received for his work. Countries he has covered in.

More information about his life and the history of his career.

About James Nachtwey’s work.

In this video James does a talk about his work. He discusses why he first wanted to become a photojournalist. He talks about how photographs of war had a powerful influence on him. He explains the stories behind some photos and discuses his feelings towards the situation shown.

Why does James Nachtwey photograph such graphic events?

This article gives an insight into what encourages James to start taking pictures of such life changing events.

Explains reasons behind why he takes photos of conflict and destruction. describes his feelings about his job and how its changed him. discusses how he doesn’t just photograph suffering he also tries and does help people when he can.

In this video James discusses the importance of war photography for humanity. The use of the micro cam used to film a lot of the video really gives you the point of view to how James sees the event.

Does James’ photography work help the people suffering? 

James Nachtwey does a lot of work for charity, he uses his photographs to raise awareness about events and illnesses that are occurring.

James travelled to india to help raise awareness about their struggle with TB there.

He attempts to raise awareness of tuberculosis across the world through photographs of the real suffering of the disease. He funds this with a grant of $100,000 from winning the TED prize in 2007.

A Year after the Japan Tsunami James did a photography project to enlighten people on the conditions in Japan and their recovery process.

This video showcases James Nachtweys photographs from his Tuberculosis awareness project. The video is narrated by James and in it he presents facts and statistics about Tuberculosis. He talks about how the correct funding could help eradicate TB.

Statistics on the number of people in India 2012 suffering from TB in 2012. 2.2 million people suffering from TB.

Examples of James Nachtweys photographs:


Famine in Sudan 1993.


A survivor of the Rwandan genocide, 1994.


A woman taken to an emergency feeding centre waits for food and medical attention.


Famine. Used as a weapon of mass destruction.

Primary research:

For my primary research I interviewed, freelance photographer, Craig Fletcher discussing James Nachtweys work. For this I asked these questions and here are his answers:

What is your opinion of James Nachtwey?

“I believe James Nachtwey is a very successful photojournalist and is a leading practitioner in his field”.

Do you think the level James Nachtwey goes to get a photo is right?

“Personally yes. Humanity needs to see these images that show what is going on around the world. He remains professional. What he has seen can be haunting and shocking but he allows himself to remain focused on the objective brief”.

Do you think James’ photographs make a difference to humanity?

“He has seen the worst side of humanity and presented it for the world to judge its own actions”.

Photos for my article.




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