Brent Stirton, The World Over

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Brent Stirton, The World Over

Postby St John Smythe » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:51 pm

On the southern wall of photographer Brent Stirton's downtown office hangs a map of the world. Perhaps this diagram of interconnecting, multicolored shapes is a much more realistic representation of Stirton's office than a 10 x 10-foot room located among a sea of cubicles at Getty Images's New York headquarters.

20 years ago, Stirton pursued a career in journalism only to discover that he couldn't find a photographer willing to accompany him as writer to to the conflict zones that he was covering. Unfazed at just 22 years of age, he purchased a secondhand camera, read the manual, and started shooting his own images. Then came the South African elections in 1993, followed by Rwanda, the fall of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the famine in Somalia—all observed through the lens of Brent Stirton's camera. A World Press Award came at the age of 27, awards and accolades kept coming, and Stirton kept shooting.

Today, the 42-year-old South African photographer travels to approximately 50 countries per year, investigating issues that affect the globe for partners such as National Geographic, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, WWF, The Ford, and the Rockefeller and Clinton Foundations. One of Stirton's best-known images to date was published in Newsweek in 2007: a 600-pound male gorilla, one of six gorillas that had been murdered in a horrific massacre in Africa's first National Park, Virunga. In the photograph, more than a dozen men respectfully and somberly carry the slayed animal out of the park. The images shocked the world, provoking international outrage. A subsequent investigation revealed connections with an illegal charcoal production industry operating inside the park and suggested that the killings were a statement of power intended to intimidate the Virunga park rangers working to protect their wildlife. It is these complex, interconnected issues that lie at the heart of Stirton's work and to which he has devoted his life to investigating, documenting and unravelling. I recently caught up with the journalist this past September before he headed out the door for his next National Geographic assignment.

More here: ... -stirton#_
St John Smythe
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