Saturday, October 10, 2009

Foreign Tongues

John Moore's career as an international conflict photographer began in Central America, he told students gathered at the Barn today. "I learned Spanish the old-fashioned way: I got myself a girlfriend and six months later I was all set."

Moore, now a senior staff photographer for Getty Images, is also a proud alum of the Eddie Adams Workshop, passing through the program in 1990. Less than a year later, he was working abroad. This decade, he spent three years living and working in and around Pakistan, and was present at the 2007 assassination in Pakistan of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and barely escaped injury in that explosion. He was also the first photographer allowed into the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad after the prisoner abuse scandal exploded in 2004.

Moore noted how tightly the military has tried to control media access: "The rules are not the same as when Eddie Adams was in Vietnam, we all know that." Moore still managed to bring back some searing black-and-white and color images from Abu Ghraib and other U.S. prisons in Iraq. On Saturday, Moore also showed pictures from the streets of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Sudan, with angry Muslim protesters in Pakistan seeming to lunge towards Moore's camera lens. "To be fair," he said, "most Pakistanis are very moderate."

Despite his success shooting overseas conflict, Moore is content to be working increasingly in the U.S., photographing such major national issues as health care reform. "There is so much happening in the U.S. right now," said Moore, who is based in Denver. "There's all kinds of stuff to do in your own backyard."

Steve Appleford

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