Liralen's Reviews > The Photographer

The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert
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's review
Sep 15, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: doctors, nonfiction, photography-art, travel, middle-east, make-love-not-war, z-2014, graphic-novels, reviewed

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, starting with the struggle it is just to get from Pakistan to the site in Afghanistan. Different war then, different players, different technology, but in some ways I expect aid workers would face similar problems now.

Because the graphic art and the photographs are side by side, you get a much better than average idea of how true the art is to fact -- and yes, I'd say it's pretty true. The art is all in muted tones, and the photography almost exclusively black and white (wouldn't I have loved to see it in colour!), but in the few pictures with more tone you can see how much sense the muted palate makes in the landscape. (Most of the book takes place while they're walking from one place to another, as opposed to when the MSF doctors are in place and treating patients.) The photographs are often arranged like strips of negatives, so that you can see not just the ones that turned our really well but the ones surrounding them, in which the angle or the expression isn't quite right or the photos were good but simply not as good. It's interesting, honest. I ended up spending less time on the photos than I ordinarily would in a photography-heavy book, but then -- the graphic art did the work it was meant to.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 15, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
September 15, 2013 – Shelved
September 27, 2013 – Shelved as: doctors
September 27, 2013 – Shelved as: nonfiction
September 27, 2013 – Shelved as: photography-art
September 27, 2013 – Shelved as: travel
February 23, 2014 – Shelved as: middle-east
March 5, 2014 – Shelved as: make-love-not-war
March 8, 2014 – Shelved as: z-2014
March 8, 2014 – Shelved as: graphic-novels
March 8, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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