James Nachtwey
[Photographer, b. 1948, Syracuse, New York, lives in New York.]

 They had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile, a pile of little arms... And I realized like I was shot with a diamond bullet right through my forehead, and I thought, my God, the genius of that, the will to do that. 
 When I approach people, I do it with respect, with deference; I do it slowly and gently and I think about the way I move, the way I speak and the way I use the camera. I let them know that I respect them and what they’re going through. 
 I became a photographer in order to be a war photographer. 
 I attempt to become as totally responsible to the subject as I possibly can. The act of being an outsider aiming a camera can be a violation of humanity. The only way I can justify my role is to have respect for the other person’s predicament. The extent to which I do that is the extent to which I become accepted by the other, and to that extent I can accept myself. 
 I want my work to become part of our visual history, to enter our collective memory and our collective conscience. I hope it will serve to remind us that history’s deepest tragedies concern not the great protagonists who set events in motion but the countless ordinary people who are caught up in those events and torn apart by their remorseless fury. 
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