An American war photographer and photojournalist, James Nachtwey was born in 1948. He was raised in Massachusetts and studied political science and art history from Dartmouth College and completing his graduation in 1970.
Nachtwey began working as a photographer for Albuquerque Journal in 1976. He shifted to New York in 1980 and worked freelance. In 1981, he did an overseas project exemplifying civil conflict in Northern Ireland. Over his professional years, he has covered a range of social issues and armed conflicts.
In 1994, he documented South Africa’s first non-racial impending elections. He was at the scene and witnessed Greg Marinovich (photojournalist) get injured and Ken Oosterbroek (journalist) killed.
It was during the American invasion of Iraq when James Nachtwey got his first battling injury. As he rode in a Humvee with Michael Weisskopf and American army, grenades were thrown at the vehicle by an insurgent. By the time they could get rid of the grenade, it detonated. Nachtwey was one of the people who got hurt but he recovered soon. Then in 2004, he managed to cover the Southeast Asia’s tsunami in December that caused much devastation.
Nachtwey has worked as a photographer on contract for the Time magazine in 1984. Between 1980 and 1985, he did a job at the Black Star. A year later, he joined Magnum Photos for the next five years. Since 2001, he was VII Photo Agency’s naissance member until 2011.
James Nachtwey was in New York when the airplanes crashed into World Trade Center on 11th September 2001. He produced extensive work on the event. He also compiled a photographic essay on civilians during the Sudan conflict.
His work has been displayed across the United States and Europe receiving much appraisal. In 1994, he was given the award by World Press Photo. He has been handed the Robert Capa Gold Medal by Overseas Press Club five times from 1983 to 1998. War Photographer, a documentary by Christian Frei focused on James Nactwey’s life and work. It was nominated for the best documentary film and got an Academy Award.
In 2002, Nachtwey was presented the esteemed Dan David Prize for photographs that depicted haunting sights in order to spread awareness for change and justice.
The Heinz Family Foundation gave Nachtwey the Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities on their 12th annual celebration in 2006 for his work and a prize of $250,000. Moving on, he was among the three who won the TED Prize in 2007 in California. Each person was given $100,000 and just like what in miss world competitions happens, they had to tell the audience at the conference their wish that could change the world. Many world renowned companies and TED Community members promised to assist in the fulfillment of those wishes.
In 2008, a series of authentic photos by James Nachtwey were exhibited in the city of lights, Paris, at Le Laboratoire. The exhibition was called Struggle For Life which presented the human excise by AIDS and Tuberculosis. The work was supported with text written by Dr. Anne Goldfeld. The work began in 2003 in Cambodia. It included images from Siberia, Thailand and Africa as well. The exhibit also included portraits made by Nachtwey and many important scientist participated in the attempt to make people attentive.