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In this FotoTV. interview, photographer Steve Schapiro sits down to share his poignant stories and to discuss working with iconic individuals of the 1960's and 1970's.
Schapiro began his career during the golden age of photojournalism. He has worked on films such as "Taxi Driver" and "The Godfather", which gave him the opportunity to work together with Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando, Jodie Foster and Francis Ford Coppola.
Schapiro has worked for Life Magazine. He shares several personal stories about working for the magazine and the monumental personalities he photographed. He was afforded the opportunity to work with Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy during a time of the 1960's when news changed from 15-minute daily reports to 24-hour news coverage.
Three elements of a photograph important to Shapiro are emotion, information and design. Shapiro recommends that it is important to photograph images that are close to a photographer and meaningful. He also goes on to say that we are now in an age when the camera might become obsolete as more and more people use smart phones to photograph live events. Schapiro’s use of the black and white medium gives an eternal sense of classic photography as his images convey an emotion stronger than that of color. "Today people don't think in terms of black and white", Schapiro says. A collection of his work can be found in the book "Shapiro's Heroes" or "Heroes” as Schapiro humbly calls it.
In the seventh and final and possibly most meaningful installment of this special FotoTV series, historic journalist and photographer Horst Faas touches poignantly on the subject of the ethics of reporting, specifically in photojournalism.
Although many of his photos were controversial, striking scenes of torture and execution, his monumental and meaningful photos did not go without being honored as he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Faas felt it was his duty to document the actual events taking place. No scene too horrific, no event too overwhelming could make him turn back. Even when it was most gruesome, he felt privileged to be there, giving information to the rest of the world hoping to touch upon their humanness, hoping to make even the slightest of difference with his photos.
One most unforgettable story is that of the photos which brought Faas the Pulitzer Prize, the story of the torture and execution of four people who were thought to be mere students or businessmen from another ethnical group, just before Christmas in Dhaka, Bangladesh at an ordinary public political rally. One by one, the unfortunate individuals were tortured for hours at a public square right before his eyes. It was a dilemma for Faas to just photograph and not to help the individuals, but his human decency is what brought him through this harrowing experience. He was compelled to show the world this heinous act. If the torturing were not enough the individuals were then slaughtered with a bayonet, saving a direct stab in the chest for last to ensure the four died a slow and painful death.
Listening to Faas speak we know his photos were not shot in vain, because the atrocities he witnessed were seen around the world, making an incredible impact on public opinion in the United States, even changing the thinking of the then president prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, just enough to give orders to avoid such incidents as these in the future, if even only for a week. Horst Faas's photos not only informed millions, showing what actually happened at many dangerous politically spots around the world, his photos possibly saved lives.