Fear-farting and the Tao of War Photography


Found via lightstalkers, Bruce Haley‘s excellent Tao of War Photography is 60+ nuggets of wisdom from a career spent in the trenches. Worth a laugh, worth a tear, worth a read. Among the treasures:

  • 10. It is said that sudden fright causes people to soil themselves… I have noticed that sustained fright causes increased flatulence: fear-farting… I have also seen Afghan mujahideen run out into a heavy rain of incoming artillery rather than shelter in a small crevice with two fear-farting Western journalists……
  • 18. If you don’t understand the entire concept of indirect fire, do not go to a war zone… If you only remember one thing from this article, let this be it…….
  • 23. You know you’re in trouble when the new head of your once-reputable agency sends out a form letter asking his photographers to shoot “quirky Americana” stories…..
  • 30. You will see the exact same wretched mongrel dog in every third world country you visit… after a while you will come to believe that it has a passport and is following you from country to country……
  • 31. Huge, menacing rats like to perch upon sleeping photographers’ faces at 3 a.m in seedy hotels in warring portions of the former Soviet Union…..”

more here

And while we’re talking about Bruce Haley, he had a conversation with Joerg at Conscientious a while back. It’s a great discussion of, among other things, the purpose and effectiveness of conflict photography, public reaction to conflict photography, personal philosophy, how he approaches stories, and what venues are most appropriate for which images. Lots of wisdom there.


  1. Matt Lutton says:

    I finally read that Conscientious conversation … really enlightening. Worth reading, saving, and revisiting I think

    [Reply]

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