In response to the entry : Dying in Africa , Eliane Laffont wrote :
Photojournalists believe their photos can change the world and history show that, for the most part, they get results.
Lewis Hine photos changed the Child Labor law, Eddie Adams photo of the police chief executing a Vietcong soldier contributed in large part to the end of the war in Vietnam, Eugene Smith photos of mercury pollution made us aware of the environment, Stephanie Sinclair photo essay of child brides gave us a clear idea of the physical social sexual abuse these young girls endure and with these photos, most civilized countries have now defined the age of consent to 18 years, and thanks to the photos taken at Abu Graib, we know now that prison abuse really happened in Iraq and actions were taken to stop it.
The list of remarkable stories told by remarkable photographers is endless and I want to name a few who worked also in Africa. Their mission to raise global awareness of the problems of this extraordinary place. Africa, vibrant continent in transition and ongoing wars, encompasses 53 nations, nearly a billion people and more than 800 ethnic groups but also plagued by wars, famine, and genocides.
James Natchways poverty in Rwanda, Marcus Bleasdales genocide in Darfur, Tom Stoddarts Aids in Sub Sahara, Ed Kashis oil pollution in Niger, Sebastio Salgados North African immigrants, Brent Stirtons killing of gorillas in Congo, JP Laffonts child soldier in Angola, Pascal Maitres children orphaned by wars and Aids in Burundi and the list goes on.
Some of these photos will make you sick and hopefully they will make you angry as those problems matter and you want the world to have a good look at it and take action. To say that Africa has become a perverse playground for photojournalists show a lack of knowledge and a lack of compassion.
Without these photos, no knowledge of the problems and without photojournalists, no action to repair them Photojournalism is a code of conduct and photojournalists are our modern heroes. Over the last 10 years, the landscape of photography has changed considerably and Visa Pour lImage in Perpignan has become the capital of photojournalism, the last place that save defenseless people from oblivion, force you to have a look at problems that matter and reward the photojournalists who took action, sometimes at the risk of their lives.
Eliane Laffont fait a NYC le 19 Avril 2010