One of the best things about hosting a podcast is the access you can get to important photographers and their thinking. Sometimes you even get a chance to talk to someone whose philosophy of photography is so powerful it knocks you on to your rear end. It is an awakening – and not a gentle one. An encounter with Simon Norfolk falls into this category, I think.
Softly spoken, Simon is a man who thinks deeply about history, society and photography. For over a decade his work has had a central theme – man’s preoccupation with war. This preoccupation manifests itself not just in bombed buildings in Afghanistan. It is evident in other aspects of society as well. Simon’s work for the past decade and more is an investigation of our relationship with war. His ambition? To change the world.
In this episode of The Documentary Photographer podcast, he talks about his work, the underlying thinking behind it, how he gains access to sensitive and dangerous areas, his experiences and the need for photographers to infuse their work with a purpose above just producing a photograph.
Editor’s note: We do touch up some disturbing situations Simon has witnessed or been in. They aren’t described graphically, but the f-word is used twice. I have chosen to leave those instances in, because the context in which each is uttered. Deleting them would undermine the passion, honesty and integrity with which Simon speaks.
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