Mary Beth's Reviews > The Photographer

The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert
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Sep 07, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: graphic
Read in September, 2009

My folks came up to New England for a week to meet their newest grandchild, and to help us with the care and management of our toddler(for which I am at a loss for words to adequately relate my gratitude). I took the occasion to try to introduce my Pop to the joys of the graphic novel. I handed him Emmanuel Guibert's /Alan's War The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope, thinking that the low-key telling of one GI's experience during WWII would hook him. I had loved Alan's War, and thought that Guibert's telling of one man's story was beautifully and thoughtfully illustrated and written. Pop was not as impressed as I had hoped he would be, but I still hold to my belief that graphic novels are, as a blending of art and writing, adept at storytelling in a way that is unique and important to modern literature.

Which brings me to Guibert's The Photographer. I really loved the combination of photographs and illustrations to tell the story of a young photographer's journey to Afghanistan. French photog Didier Lefevre traveled with and documented a Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF) mission to Afghanistan in 1986. Lefevre's journey is not an easy one, indeed, he nearly documents his own demise at one point in the story. He is a likable narrator, if a bit naive, and as a reader I could identify with him. The bravery and determination of the doctors/nurses/staff of MSF is inspiring and danger of the mission is tangible on every page. The form of the graphic novel lends a sense of immediacy to the telling, and the images provide a clear lens into a world that most of us only know from news clips. The Photographer provides an interesting and alternate view of the people and landscape of Afghanistan in a way that only photos and illustrations can; perhaps my Pop would find THIS Guibert graphic novel more to his liking! I highly recommend it!
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