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The Photographer

(Le Photographe #1-3)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  3,349 ratings  ·  421 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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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  3,349 ratings  ·  421 reviews

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Jon Nakapalau
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First I would like to thank all of my GR friends who recommended this book - this is the reason that I am so glad to have your friendship and suggestions. This book moved me in so many different ways; but at the core of the book are the black and white photographs taken by Didier Lefèvre as he struggles to keep up with a Médecins sans Frontières caravan trekking across war torn Afghanistan in 1986. The juxtaposition of photos by Lefèvre and illustrations by Emmanuel Guibert weave seamlessly; an ...more
David Schaafsma
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: gn-bio, gn-european
A 300 plus page tome of a book, told through written text, graphic memoir (by graphic novelist Guilbert) and photographs (by Didier Lefèvre), of a photographer committed to social causes, documenting (among other things) a Doctors Without Borders mission in Afghanistan. Some "graphic" photos and drawings, as one might expect, some upsetting, but also a lot of just documenting the trip. Guibert is Lefèvre's close friend, so this is a tribute to his friend as well as a look at the relationship bet ...more
Tom LA
Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A stunning work of beauty. The graphic structure is magnificent, to the point that I was often spending more than 5 minutes just looking at a single page, to absorb all the details. But also in terms of the content, this is a true modern day adventure with substance. The main charachter's ineptitude often sticks out, but in the end it's the same ineptitude that most of us westerners would display in those circumstances, and that makes it easier to get drawn into the narration and live the advent ...more
J.G. Keely
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
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

FASCINATING graphic narrative - super interesting use of comic and photography
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable graphic novel, and one of my favorites that I've read. It tells the story of Didier Lefevre, a photographer who accompanies a Doctors Without Borders team into 1980s Afghanistan to set up a hospital during the Soviet-Afghan War. It's filled with interesting cultural observations and anecdotes and beautiful mountain shots. I was not overly impressed by the photography, to be honest, but I know very little about photography.

It suffers a little from being about the least interesti
Sridhar Reddy
Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Ill D
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book is a joint-effort between Didier Lefèvre, the eponymous photographer, and Emmanuel Guilbert, the artist. For the assignment described in the book, Lefèvre worked alongside a team from Médicins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders. The journey begins in summer 1985 in Peshawar, Pakistan as Lefèvre meets the team of doctors and nurses who will setting up a hospital in a remote region in Afghanistan. They spend weeks planning their upcoming trek into the war-torn country: obtaining me ...more
A book that packs a punch. A combination of a graphic novel with the photographs taken by Emmanuel Gilbert when he accompanied a Médecins Sans Frontières mission into Afghanistan in 1986. Text, photos and graphics combine to tell of the one month hike into a remote location where MSF is setting a series of clinics. Haunting imagery in a land of seemingly endless beauty but with ruggedness matched to the toughness of its people.
Its the time of the Russian invasion, printed film, no cell phones an
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Lars Guthrie
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 16, 2010 rated it liked it
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
aPriL does feral sometimes
This is a memoir in a graphic novel format with some actual photos included taken by the author. If you need to flesh out your knowledge of Afghanistan, this seems like a good choice to have on your list of informative books to learn about that terrible country.

I'm glad to have discovered 'The Photographer' on my library shelves and I highly recommend it to folks wanting a look at Afghanistan from a travelor's viewpoint. I have the greatest respect for the Doctors Without Borders organization a
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Very interesting. This guy is so brave (and a little crazy) to eventually go off by himself in Afghanistan. Worth a read.
Mary Adeson
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I spent a great deal of time taking in the photography. The combination of photos and graphics brought to life Didier mission and suffering.

I still can't decide whether Didier is brave or simply crazy!
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
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As my English friends would say Brilliant. I love how the photography, graphics, and narration blend together so the reader gets a vivid experience of life in the middle east through the photographer's experience. His journey with the French Doctor's Without Borders team is one I won't soon forget.
Angie Fehl
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a graphic memoir which tells the story of French photojournalist Didier Lefevre, on his first major assignment documenting the work of Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan during the Cold War of the 1980s. He starts in Peshwar, Pakistan and works his way through Afghanistan, traveling primarily by foot or mule. Didier's actual photography is incorporated in between the panels of artwork, a format I had not come across before but one that really held my interest!

For those not familiar w
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Bill Mutch
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Full five 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
This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. Like Robert speaking of the Afghans he lived and worked among, for reading this book, I feel a bit less dumb than I would've been. This book is not only a travelogue, but it is a piece of history as well. The story takes place during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and it is in that country that MSF is doing their work. Didier the photographer goes into the country not knowing a whole lot to be perfectly honest, and he grows per ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I bought this without realising it would contain actual photographs. I fully expected a graphic novel detailing a photographer's trip into Afghanistan. What I got was so much more enriched by the added photographs. Somehow them all being in black and white added to the whole experience. It does what it says on the tin to begin with. Didier Lefevre joins a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) group going into Afghanistan as a photographer while it was at war with the Soviet Union. It uses both comic sti ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Raul Rodriguez
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Photographer was an amazing graphic novel, it is both touching and informational, its about a photographer, obviously, the captures the moments of citizens from Iraq and how they are impacted by the life of war and living conditions. A few panel's that i found interesting was on page 132-133, the mother is sitting in a corner next to her bloodied children, the girl is a teenager and the little boy is possibly two or three years old and they both are laying there barely moving. It is very int ...more
Emilia P
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-books
Ughhhh guys this book was awesome why did it take me so long to read it? Because it takes a tremendous and extended amount of focus is why -- the story of MSF in rural 1980s war-torn Afghanistan is a foreign one to most readers, which needs plenty of explication and investigation to acquaint and integrate you into the truly moving and deeply human experience of very green photographer Didier LeFevre as he accompanies the group on their humanitarian mission. Guibert's tremendous skill as an oral ...more
Sep 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was such a suprising book. I found myself completely rapt to see how well the execution of the book worked--the interleaving actual photographs with graphic depictions of the travel and work of Doctors Without Borders in the northeast corner of Afghanistan. Didier Lefevre, the photographer of the title, and his collaborators on this book, had personality enough to keep the tone moving constantly through interesting, awestruck, serious, funny, fearful. While the beauty of Afghanistan was con ...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

Other books in the series

Le Photographe (4 books)
  • Le Photographe - Tome 1
  • Le Photographe, Tome 2 :
  • Le Photographe - Tome 3

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