November 4, 2009
We’ve recently been borrowing a lot of library books from the public library. I used to want to buy books rather than borrow but then I realized something- I skim. Sometimes I read books cover to cover but more often then not I like to just pick out the parts I’m intersted in come back to the rest (this is especially true for technical manuals and biographies). When I buy books I always feel compelled to read them all the way through before moving onto the next. When I borrow them, if I really want to finish reading it I can always renew it or borrow it again (or buy it if I love it). Anyways a big digression into why the public library is the most awesome thing ever for me. (Also you can browse the whole catalog online, place reserves on books and have them shipped to your local branch. And you can take out up to 40 at once!)
Last night I did work through a book cover to cover. It wasn’t exactly reading but the content was extremely difficult to get through. It was James Nachtwey’s Inferno. Nachtwey describes himself as an anti-war photographer and has produced some of the most compelling photojournalistic images documenting conflict and human strife, throughout the world. I’ve known about his work for quite some time, but hadn’t had the opportunity to work through one of his books.
All of the images are extremely difficult to view, but the most difficult of all are the ones focusing on starvation and famine. I can understand becoming desensitized to violence (because of mass media), but viewing humans in such severe states of starvation definitely affected me.
The foreword and afterword were were extremely well written, and I won’t say much about it except to borrow the book for yourself. Nachtwey has helped me realize that it is possible for every one of us to help change the world. I think most people think about change as something out of their control but the fact of the matter is that change will only be possible if you take steps to educate yourself and help educate others.
“…a perfection of means but a confusion of aims is the misfortune of our time.” - James Nachtwey