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The Photographer (Le Photographe #1-3)

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,609 ratings  ·  257 reviews
In 1986, Afghanistan was torn apart by a war with the Soviet Union. This graphic novel/photo-journal is a record of one reporter’s arduous and dangerous journey through Afghanistan, accompanying the Doctors Without Borders. Didier Lefevre’s photography, paired with the art of Emmanuel Guibert, tells the powerful story of a mission undertaken by men and women dedicated to m...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by First Second (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Sridhar Reddy
Based on their title alone, it makes sense as to why Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. But I have to admit I knew very little of the organization itself and the true challenges of their work. It would have been far too simplistic to say it was a group of committed doctors who traveled to different global hotspots to administer medical aid. I knew it would be far more complicated than just voluntary service, but it wasn't until I read THE PHOTOG...more
Keely
Non-fiction seems so easy some times. All you have to do is lead an interesting life and it's all taken care of for you: plot, characterization, twists, insights. All that remains is the compiling and editing, which is no minute task, but there is a sort of unpredictable depth in non-fiction which is hard to replicate. Many have tried, but verisimilitude is the mark of the master.

Here we have a foreigner--a Frenchman--who does not even speak the language, going on a very real modern adventure in...more
Matt
The concept used here - part graphic novel, part photo essay - is brilliant, and I hope the model is copied by others. The bounty of a French photographer's work in 1980s Afghanistan is put together with colored artwork to complete a narrative of his adventure. The best travel writing out there tends to stand out because it's written by great writers. This is just the opposite. Didier Lefevre is no writer, but his very other-worldly experience and his excellent photography are entertainment enou...more
Jonathan Peto
French photographer Didier Lefevre's first trip to Afghanistan took place in 1986, the year I graduated high school and joined the US Army. The personal connection is important to me, I guess, because my memories of that time added something to the narrative as I read. The book is a memoir of Lefevre's experience accompanying doctors who entered the war zone. Lefevre's photographs and his account of the trip, combined with panels of illustration by Emmanuel Guibert and Frederic Lemercier, make t...more
Malapata
De vez en cuando hay libros, cómics, como este, que te emocionan, te encogen el corazón, te hacen dejar de leer durante un momento para coger fuerzas.

El cómic es la crónica del viaje del fotógrafo Didier Lefèvre a Afganitstán en los años 80 acompañando a un equipo de Médicos Sin Fronteras. Un viaje que en aquel entonces, en plena guerra civil contra el gobierno sostenido por la URSS, significaba cruzar la frontera a escondidas y tener que hacer tramos durante la noche para evitar los bombardeos...more
htanzil
Ada istilah yang mengatakan bahwa sebuah foto /gambar dapat berbicara lebih banyak daripada kata. Karenanya tak jarang sebuah foto dengan sedikit keterangan atau bahkan tanpa keterangan apapun bisa menimbulkan reaksi yang lebih fantastis dibandingkan sebuah kolom berita. Kenyataan seperti ini membuat semua media-media baik cetak maupun cyber selalu megedepankan para fotografernya dalam meliput sebuah berita atau peristiwa penting.

Didier Liever adalah seorang fotografer jurnalistik asal Perancis...more
Hans
Books like this one have a powerful effect on me and only make me wish I had read it 10 years earlier. I found myself idly dreaming about the incredible adventure of being part of Doctors without Borders. I am still happy to have read it and for the insights I have gathered about Afghanistan from it. My wish is still that someday I will be able to be a part of something like this and write my own unique travelogue about the most barren and remote parts of the world.
Jason
I purchased this book after seeing it on a list of great graphic novels in recent years. I paid no attention to its dimensions. When it arrived in the mail, I was shocked at just how large the book was. Flipping through it, I realized the large size accommodated all the photographs in this biography. Another reason I bought this book is because I teach The Kite Runner, so I thought this book would be a nice nonfiction companion novel for any students interested in learning more about Afghanistan...more
Jacki
The brilliant concept (graphic novel meets photojournalism)is worthy of a glance, but ultimately this book disappoints in other vital areas.

I had to laugh when a character in the book said he pitied children learning to read in Afghanistan because the Qu'ran had such little print on such big pages, because that was my exact complaint about "The Photographer." A magnifying glass is needed for the tiny print and minuscule photographs. Perhaps color photos the same size would have been more easily...more
Sarah
This is a fantastic example of what can be done in a non-fiction comic for adults. As the subtitle states, Didier Lefèvre traveled with Doctors without Borders to Afghanistan in the 1980s. He photographically documented their mission to bring health care to rural villages on the frontlines of the war with Russia. He also kept travel journals. The illustrator Emmanuel Guibert filled in the blanks between Lefevre's photographs with his own depictions of the events Lefevre described. I'm not entire...more
Matt
The idea of merging documentary with media that are not, by nature, documentary is one that continues to intrigue me. It's part of what made "Waltz with Bashir" so special - animation, being such a time intensive discipline, seems to be almost the polar opposite of documentary forms. Yet it was perfect for the movie, allowing it to move seamlessly between memory and fact. The Photographer pulls off a similar feat, in the graphic novel form.

The book follows a photographer, Didier Lefevre, on a D...more
Wordwizard
Extremely powerful. The photos-and-cartoons format was interesting and well-executed. Very moving--I cried a few times. What these people did was really remarkable.

On the whole, the book is very understated, part journal/photo-journal and part factual recount. It is when taken as a whole that it gets its impact.

Didier's account is very much his own--his frustrations, admiration of the doctors, his own weaknesses. He may come across as spoiled during a few scenes, but I think that serves as a goo...more
Lars Guthrie
Beyond a useful addition to reading that helps in understanding what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan today, 'The Photographer' is a striking example of what the graphic novel (although this is not fiction and blends photography into its format) can be. Didier Lefevre was a French photographer who died of untimely heart failure at 49 in 2007. The book recounts a journey he took into Afghanistan in 1986, while the Russians were still fighting their war, with Doctors without Borders. Emman...more
Bill Mutch
Full five stars...no ambiguity whatever! This is a graphic non-fiction combining the manga like art work of Emmanuel Guilbert and the edited photographs of the late photographer Didier LeFevre describing LeFevre's odyssey from Pakistan, thru Afghanistan and back again during the conflict between the mujahideen and the Soviet Union while on assignment with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders.) Under the leadership of a phenomenal woman identified only as 'Juliette,' A large caravan...more
Josh
This is quite simply a first hand account of a naive French photographer documenting a caravan and mission into late 1980's Afghanistan, while the Soviets were still attempting to subjugate the country. This is a superb work of art that blends photography, art, and the journal notes of Dieder Lefevre on his journey. What makes the story even more compelling is that it is true - the account of one man in a new land. I will certainly be able to use this text in my courses, particularly those invol...more
Karyl
With as much as Afghanistan has been in the news for the last decade or so here in the States, I admit I really knew not much about it, other than what I saw on the evening news. This book, taking place almost thirty years ago, during the Afghan-Soviet War, really brought Afghanistan to life. Lefévre's photos are absolutely stunning, and he gives his readers a glimpse of what life is like in a part of the world so far removed, in every way, from the modern West.

The use of drawn panels alternatin...more
Laura Zurowski
The Photographer pairs the work of French photographer Didier Lefèvre with the art of Emmanuel Guibert to create a haunting, suspenseful, and memorable story about a 1986 Doctors Without Borders mission into the most isolated and war-torn areas of Afghanistan.

The narrative will keep you turning the pages (but be careful, the book is over-sized and a bit heavy! :-) and it's perfectly woven throughout the images - seamlessly providing a story in both words and images. The use of multiple media in...more
Zioluc
Nel 1986 il fotografo Didier Lefèvre è aggregato a una missione di Medici Senza Frontiere in Afghanistan: questo è il suo diario.

Scoprire come lavorano i chirurghi nei "deserti sanitari" senza igiene né strumentazione, come vivevano e vivono gli Afghani tra le loro bellissime montagne, come lavorano i fotografi di reportage in condizioni difficili è appassionante (avvertenza: qualche immagine di persone ferite può fare davvero impressione).

Ma per me il vero interesse del libro è COME tutto ciò...more
Jeff
I found this to be a quite intriguing work: a collection of personal memoir, photography, and graphic illustration depicting an MSF (from the French: Doctors Without Borders) trip into Afghanistan. For Westerners in the post-9/11 era, the text does well to situate Afghan culture and its people outside the limiting scope of war and prejudice.

To boot, it's told with the honesty and flair of a good travel journal: the central protagonist, Didier Lefevre is not always noble, not always tough, and n...more
Lorenzoae
Truffaut once said that it's impossible to make an anti-war war movie, because the visuals of combat are too cool.

"The Photographer," like the greatest war film ever, "Come & See," proves that it's possible if you make a war story about the victims. Without the explosive, sexy trappings that gave hard-ons to a generation of Futurists, this is a memoir of a photographer following a cadre of doctors into Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war. A combination of bande desinée and photobook, th...more
Liralen
Kind of a cross between a graphic memoir and a photography book -- Lefèvre was hired as a photographer for a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) mission to Afghanistan in the eighties, and some twenty years later he and some others sat down to turn the experience into this.

It's a different perspective than you might ordinarily get; Lefèvre was by definition there to observe, not to act. He's there to document the obvious -- the work that the MSF doctors do -- but also the stuff behind the magic, start...more
Nick

Written in a very "Plate" style and featuring long periods of bitching and whining by the photographer in question, The Photographer is nonetheless a fascinating trip into Mujahideen Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders and beyond. Didier Lefèvre's pictures bring this remote, beautiful and dangerous world to life and do much toward comprehending the historically-important, frequently-invaded, hard-scrabble Afghanistan. It is truly amazing to journey with Didier and the doctors he is followin...more
Kent
I finally found a graphic book that I enjoyed reading!

The Photographer mixed black and white photographs with illustrations to tell the story in a graphic book format. It is about a French photographer, Didier Lefevre, who accompanied a medical team, sponsored by Medecins Sans Frontieres MSF (Doctors Without Borders), on an adventurous trip into Afghanistan in 1986, which was almost 7 years into the Russian invasion/occupation, in order to provide much needed medical care to people in a remote r...more
Bunker
Didier Lefevre, a photojournalist, accompanies a group of doctors and nurses associated with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) into war-torn Afghanistan in the 1980s. While his role is to document the journey and efforts of the organization, Lefevre's story becomes the focal point in this graphic novel. His stark black-and-white photos complement the mission itself, which involves the dangerous trek from Pakistan through Soviet-occupied spaces in Afghanistan to treat the injured...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: Cybils nominee

Summary: Photographer Didier Lefevre was offered to accompany the MSF (the original French version of Doctors Without Borders) on a 3 month mission to Afghanistan in 1986 when the Soviet-Afghan War was raging. The book tells of his journey from Pakistan to the mission site in Afghanistan, his stay and his decision to make the journey back to Pakistan alone which almost cost him his life.

Comments: An incredibly brilliant, powerful work of art! At first I thought...more
SwensonBooks
by Danielle Sherwood

The mission opens with a good-bye and closes with a hello. The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders (First Second, 2009) opens with our protagonist leaving Paris to do a photo-reportage mission of a MSF (Médicins San Frontières, or Doctors without Borders) caravan that’s going into northeastern Afghanistan, near the city of Feyzabad. Starting with them in Peshawar, Pakistan he will cross fifteen mountain passes over 16,000 feet high, on foot th...more
Eva
A surprisingly well-executed book mixing photography and illustration to document a photographer's journey with the Medecins Sans Frontieres in Afghanistan. It's difficult to know where to begin reviewing this book - it would have been inconceivable to have botched such a project up considering the resources available: fascinating content of Afghanistan during the Soviet era; Didier Lefevre's incredible photography and the illustration of Emmanuel Guilbert. By blurring the lines between memoir/p...more
Katie Brady
Whenever I'm looking at reviews for anything, I always scroll to the negative ones first. Is that insane? Well, anyway, the few negative reviews for The Photographer usually complained about the narrator. He was described as arrogant, stupid, self-serving, and generally annoying.

To an extent, I agree with this. I also think the narrator's shortcomings are highlighted by the fact that there's obviously some very, very interesting and powerful stories to be told within and intertwined with the na...more
Gregory Han
A harrowing recounting that is memorable in equally communicating both the tangible sense of imminent violence and the magic of hospitality at the hands of strangers. Photographer Lefevre's photo documentation of the humanitarian work done by by Medicins Sans Frontieres and Doctors without Borders communicates in harmony with Emmanuel Guibert's line work, creating a visual memoir whose pictures do truly communicate a thousand words, often tempting the reader to return back over to preceding pane...more
Colin N.
A really fascinating read!



“The Photographer” is a graphic novel of sorts. It tells the story of Didier Lefevre, a French photojournalist who traveled with Doctors Without Borders into pre-Taliban Afghanistan in the mid-1980s. This was the time of the Soviet occupation where some parts of the land were controlled by the Soviets, groups of Mujahideen flooded the country engaging in skirmishes with the Russians, the country was run by warlords, and innocent people were caught in between.



The tale...more
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Emmanuel Guibert has written a great many graphic novels for readers young and old, among them the Sardine in Outer Space series and The Professor’s Daughter with Joann Sfar.

In 1994, a chance encounter with an American World War II veteran named Alan Cope marked the beginning of a deep friendship and the birth of a great biographical epic.

Another of Guibert's recent works is The Photographer. Show...more
More about Emmanuel Guibert...
Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope Sardine in Outer Space Sardine in Outer Space 2 Sardine in Outer Space 3 Ariol #1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me

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