Thursday, April 29, 2010

Front Line Cameramen

I've been privileged to work with many great war photographers in my career, sending them off to cover 11 wars from the safety of my cushy desk in Fleet Street. Some are sadly not with us today and some still active around the world's trouble spots. Apart from a few war junkies they were mostly staff photographers and freelances thrust into the war zones by their newspapers and news agencies during times of conflict. They were not fearless individuals, careless with their lives but family men and women, dedicated to recording the true face of war with the front line troops. All were eyewitnesses to history in the making, taking the same risks as the soldiers, sailors and airmen alongside them.

Usually they came home to headlines and awards but, every so often, they paid the ultimate price for their dedication.

Since 9/11 nineteen photographers and journalists have died in Afghanistan, most recently Michelle Lang, aged 34, from Canada's Calgary Herald and Rupert Hamer of the Sunday Mirror in the UK. His cameraman, Philip Coburn, was badly injured and lucky to escape with his life.

Today I begin an occasional series called Front Line Cameramen which will honour one of the top men and women, past or present. To co-incide with the launch of his new website I begin with Mike Moore.

Mike has been a Fleet Street photographer for over 30 years with the Evening Standard, the Today newspaper and, currently, the Daily Mirror. He has won the prestigious British Press Photographer of the Year 3 times, Royal Photographer of the Year twice and News and Feature Photographer of the Year. He's also won 2 World Press Awards.

His conflict coverage reads like a map of the trouble spots of the world and include Afghanistan, Iraq, Angola, Bosnia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Rumania. He was embedded with the 4th Armoured Brigade in the Gulf War, spending two months as the only cameraman with the famous Desert Rats, living with them in the front line trenches. Penguin produced a great record of his time with them called Desert War. ISBN 0-14-016513-4. If you want a feel of what it's like going to war with the First Royal Scots it's on at an impossibly bargain price and worth a hundred times more.

In quieter times he lives in England with his wife, Helen, and two children.

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