Anthony Feinstein examines the people behind the lens in his work, Shooting War. As a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Feinstein uses his expertise to create profiles of 18 conflict photographers. Each of these people is constantly met with danger as well as something coined as moral injury over the course of their work experiences. This book will lead you to more deeply examine the images you see in the news, not only for what they contain, but for the person who took them.
Shooting War is focused on what the photographer experiences while they are taking the photos that we later see. Feinstein and the writer of his foreward, Sir Harold Evans, discuss how moral injury impacts the lives of those who take pictures of traumatic events, including war as well as other emotionally intense situations. Photographers find themselves in a difficult position where they are sometimes in a situation where they could possibly intervene in a situation, but this intervention may not be something that they should do. This sort of moral divide leads to moral injury. There are also physical injuries and even PTSD responses that can emerge, but moral injury is noted as a separate trauma that occurs.
Over the course of his book Feinstein presents one image for each of the 18 photographers he has chosen and then uses this image to break down their work and experiences. In some situations he was able to interview the photographers and provide his own firsthand thoughts, this includes Tim Page and Corinne Dufka, but in other cases he has to rely on research as he cannot speak with the photographer in question. This is the case for Alexandra Boulat, who is deceased. Shooting War shows how different people react to emotionally draining and dangerous periods of time and how they return to their lives outside of these situations. The book pushed me to think more deeply about the images I see every day on the news and online. Shooting War is a powerful read and will leave you processing what you’ve just read even after you put the book down. You can purchase your copy of Shooting War today.