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Nachtwey's War Photos on Show at Cankarjev dom

Ljubljana, 8 June - Ljubljana's Cankarjev dom is launching tonight an exhibition of photos by James Nachtwey, a man considered to be the world's greatest war photographer but who prefers to call himself an anti-war photographer.

World famous war photographer James Nachtwey holds a speech during SPP Festival of Documentary Photography.
Photo: Nebojsa Tejic/STA

Speaking at a news conference before the launch later on Monday, Nachtwey said that photography was just a tool transforming a photographer into a historian, documentarist or humanist.

His purpose is not to shock but rather to stir "a sense of compassion" in people. His work does not make him happy, but he is satisfied if he can touch people's hearts with his photography.

Born in the US in 1948, Nachtwey was moved profoundly by the Vietnam war, which was the reason he decided to dedicate his life to photographing human distress in war.

The Vietnam war was a traumatic period in America's history and also shaped the way of his thinking. He wanted to portray a man in distress, far away from political decisions, he said.

Despite the many horrors he has witnessed, he never lost trust in human goodness, love and care. Stories caught in his lens are "much bigger than us", which makes him "humble" doing his job.

Running until 17 June, the show Eyewitness features 120 of his photographs from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, South America, South Africa, the Balkans and Rwanda as well as from the poorest parts of Somalia and Romania.

The show is held as part of the 6th edition of the Slovenia Press Photo festival in what director of the Institute for Promotion of Photography Matej Leskovšek says is its biggest and most expensive project yet.

Photojournalist and war photographer James Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with TIME Magazine since 1984. He was associated with Black Star from 1980-1985 and was a member of Magnum from 1986 until 2001. In 2001, he became one of the founding members of the photo agency VII.

He has received numerous honours for his work, some of them even several times, including Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal five times and the World Press Photo Award.

The American Society of Magazine Editors presented Nachtwey with the Lifetime Achievement Award in February this year.

The exhibition is accompanied by the screening of the film War Photographer. Also on display is Nachtwey's latest book Inferno.

© STA, 2015