looking through the glass onion – stanley greene

“I have always seen myself as being clandestine, gathering evidence in secret – stealing images with my cameras”. It remains essential for photographers to scour the ground, unimpeded, using the only weapons we know. Our cameras, notebooks and voices make us the unwelcome pests of aggressors around the world. Witnesses are inconvenient. Yet as most of my colleagues will agree, countries such as Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Chechnya, are becoming harder to cover. In the world of spot news, publications don’t want to pay for long engagements in complicated zones because its getting much harder to afford it. Authorities block access. And the lack of infrastructure and personal security makes logistics a nightmare. Despite the odds, sometimes the effort can make a difference, and those rare moments never cease to satisfy in a profession that is otherwise lonely, demanding and thankless. Journalism rewards you with long days and even longer nights. For photographers, there is no such thing as taking pictures from a hotel room or a place of safety, and you often pack your feelings in a suitcase until you can return to “reality”. Few colleagues living in this perpetual emotional yo-yo are able to maintain a relationship, money in the bank, and perhaps even their sanity. For the rest of us not born under that star, you never stop trying to find it. For the last 25 years, I have bore witness to long histories of yesterday’s and tomorrow’s changing realities, the end of Kodachrome black and white photography as we knew it, the Digital Age, births of new dawns, rising and falling empires, invasions of countries, liberation of others, mass migrations, deportations, displacements, famines and the harvest of humanity, conflicts, wars and destructions. Sometimes I wonder if societies just lust for tragedies. This sample of images is to provide an interlude from pictures not done yet, one should not see this book as a retrospective but of work that is about being a photographer trying to document the human condition in the last five years of NOOR in the Digital Age. – Stanley Greene

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