Sep 18 2008
James Nachtwey’s book Inferno takes the reader on a visual exploration of the dark side of the human condition. This book chronicles the weeks following the Rwandan Genocide, the daily lives of untouchables in India, orphaned children living inhumane conditions in Romania, Somalis and Sudanese people facing dehydration and starvation in Africa, and on the atrocities committed during both the Bosnian and Chechen wars.
Nachtwey is an award winning photojournalist who has worked for decades in some of the harshest areas of the world. He is known as a war photographer but he sees himself as the “anti-war photographer.” On his website there is a quote that sums up the purpose of his work. “I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.”
The book which was published by Phaidon Press in 1999 is itself a work of art. The book’s large format allows for the 382 beautifully printed images to be displayed over 460 pages. The book weights almost 10 pounds and it’s dimensions are 15.3×11.2×2.3 inches. The book retails for $150 and can be found on Amazon.com.
This book is important because it is a testimony to horrors that have taken place in the world during our lifetime. The photographs in this book are not easily to look at. But, once you look it will hard to turn away. The images are powerful and will haunt you for days after. As citizens of the world, it is our duty to look at these images, because the individuals represented in them deserve to have their stories told.
In my opinion, the book has two purposes. First, it is meant to shock people out of their complacency, and secondly, it is meant to serve as a historical document so that we will always remember what people are capable of doing to each other.
Check out a video that features some of the work published in the book.
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