I recently gave a presentation on photographer Gilles Peress. During my online research I came across this old but interesting interview.
Gilles Peress has been documenting the effects of war and revolution in North Ireland, Iran, Bosnia, Rwanda, Irak, Israel etc. However he doesn’t consider himself to be a war photographer but a witness. He says: «I don’t care so much anymore about good photography; I am gathering evidence for history». And he is very upset about the the passivity of the Western world: «The passivity was as painful to witness as the horror itself».
When I first looked at Peress’ book about the conflict in Rwanda (The Silence – Rwanda) I was shocked. The pictures show the sheer madness and horror of war very directly and raw. I wondered if one really needs/wants to see this and if Peress just tries to catch attention by using other people’s misery. Reading about his motivation and attitude I started to better understand and finally admire his work and personality.