Saturday Evening Post #42 “I’m Not a Lifesaver”

No doubt you will have seen as the credits in a magazine, newpaper or book for Photo by AFP.

AFP is a noted news service that goes all the way back to 1835. AFP are the initials for “Agence France-Presse”.

They currently have over 400 photographers-photojournalists at work on stories in war zones, policitcal events, and just about everything in between that is newsworthy.

One of their photographers has recently come to my attention.

His name is Aris Messinis, a Greek photographer.

The image that has created my interest in his work, and his life, and his compassion, was  a photo taken in March 2017 in Iraq, in Mosul, at the time of the ‘libertation’ of the township from the oppression of Islamic State, (ISIS).  I don’t have access to the image, and below is a quick copy from a magazine in an iPad display.  I don’t normally put other photographers work on this blog, but none the less, to explain it would be much to difficult. And I can’t locate a reference site to give it full credit.  The copyright is the work of Aris Messisnis.  His work is worth more than a second glance.

What caught me with the power of the image, built around the smoke, dust and haze behind the couple, that cover, yet hints at the destruction. While the glace behind is both protective and fearful.  The touch of the family belongings in the single yellow plastic bag holds both their possessions and the centre of their life away from the misery behind.

In October 2015 on the Island of Lesbos (Lesvos), he covered the story of refugees making the prerilous crossing of the Mediterranean looking for a new start to life.

During this assigment, Aris crossed a line that many of his peers feel must never be broken. He put down his camera and helped the people he was sent to photograph. Several photos of him helping children, and babies to safety through the surf surely testify to his involement as more than just a observer of the human condition.  He called out his fellow photographers for not helping a boat that had capsised and plunged its overloaded passengers into the water, “You could take all the pictures you needed, and then lent a hand to help. Why didn’t you?’

The response.  “I’m a photographer, not a lifeguard.”

This is a photo by Petros Tsakmakis. The photo is not one of those ‘set’ for the moment, Aris carried a number of children that day. Petros took quite a number of Aris carrying in young children

Here is a link to a full story by Aris. https://neoskosmos.com/en/33347/aris-messinis-afp-photographer-blog-refugee-crisis-lesvos/

Please be aware, that there are, as they say on the tele news, “Some quite confronting images on the site”.

 

Aris says, “I respect the need to be objective, but in our personal time, when we are not working, we are human.”

 

Thank God he was human.

Photos shared on the site are the work of Aris Messinis and Petros Tsakmakis. I acknowledge the copyright to be theirs or their associated companies.

 

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