This week features West Coast photographers that capture imagery in places other than home…..
The world of Bruce Haley is not for the faint-hearted. Now living in Northern California, Bruce has traveled the globe photographing some of the darkest moments that only the intrepid want to face. “I wander toward the world‘s margins, the dark places, places of solitude, rural landscapes, wasteland. What this says about me is unimportant; what one encounters in such places is the heart of the matter. For it is there that life is unvarnished and vital, where the margins offer the occasional glimpse of a darkly-splendid world.” For a number of years, Bruce has been focusing on the environment, and only recently turned his camera towards American soil, with a new series, Goldenstate.
For his intense and meaningful work, Bruce has received the Robert Capa Gold Medal for the coverage of Burma’s bloody ethnic civil war, and was nominated for a Pulizter Prize for his work on famine in Somalia. His website is a testament to his vision, intelligence, and courage in telling stories that need to have a witness. His site also contains a terrific interview with Jorg Colberg, and Bruce’s own Tao of War Photographer. The world needs more photographers like Mr. Haley. Not only is he committed to revealing the truth, he is committed to his craft and his community. He generously gives back, sharing his advice and expert eye with those who stand in his long shadow.
Image selections are from various bodies of work, and quotes taken from his interview with Jorg Colberg are featured below.
“If those of us who love to look at and think about and discuss photography find ourselves over the saturation point, what does it take to make an impact upon the other 99.9% of the planet’s population? What makes someone outside of the medium, in the midst of their daily grind, pull an image out of the stream of bombardment and actually take the time to ENGAGE with it?”
“You need to retain the notion that what you are doing is meaningful and worthwhile and may indeed have some impact on someone somewhere.”
“I need to think of my own life in the following terms: as a man with a family to consider, as a United States citizen, as a world citizen, and as a photographer. And I need to analyze each of these aspects of my life with an eye to the greater good, make appropriate decisions, and then try to mesh them all into some sort of whole that actually functions and makes sense – and hopefully, at the end of the day, can also make some small difference, or raise awareness in someone, somewhere.”
“No matter how powerless you feel in the big scheme of things you can still effect change, even if it is only at the grassroots level – I mean, let’s face it, we can’t all be Gandhi, but we can each do something! So first and foremost there is a personal decision to be made about how we live our lives – do we allow the pressures of the daily grind to overwhelm and numb us, to the point of succumbing to Tivo and worshipping at the altar of “American Idol,” or do we follow a path of involvement, of volunteer work, of activism? This is the vital fork in life’s road, and right now there’s a huge dust cloud in the air from all of the mindless sheep ambling down the path of non-involvement.”
“And even if we’re not having the impact that we would like in our lifetimes, remember that we are also historians, and who knows what impact our images may have when viewed through the prism of history?”
“As for philosophy, I would have to steal from the poet Yevtushenko and say that a life in photography is “a choice that has no mercy, but is surely redemption.”
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