Though he admitted to me that he had never worked in conflict, [Yves Choquette] was quick to add that he had photographed student protests in Montreal. Now he had come to Kilis intending to enter the world’s deadliest war zone”
Late last week, the Daily Beast published a piece by Ben Taub titled “Was U.S. Journalist Steven Sotloff a Marked Man?” In the article, Taub describes the actions of a freelance journalist (named “Alex” for the article, but later revealed to be Montreal photographer Yves Choquette) who he says compromised the identity of his fixer on the Syria/Turkey border and led to the kidnapping of Sotloff. Taub alleges that the photographer was reckless in his attempts to enter Syria, randomly searching Facebook for people with opposition flags in their profiles to take him across the border. He told these people the name of the fixer he was using, and a few days later Sotloff and that fixer were abducted just over the Syrian border. Choquette did not enter Syria after hearing other warnings, including that militants in Syria knew his location, nationality, and details of his plans to enter the country.
The day after James Foley’s tragic death, we collected a number of remembrances written by friends and colleagues. Many more have been published since the news first came out, and we thought it’d be good to link to those here.
Foley’s alma mater Marquette University established the James Foley Scholarship in the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication, and you can contribute here. Writing on Facebook, the Foley family suggests this is one way to keep James Foley’s legacy alive.
Since Foley’s death, there has been much written about freelancers covering war, government response to kidnapping, what was and can be done to save Foley and others held captive in Syria and elsewhere, the dangers faced by local journalists, and what it means to publish gruesome images released by organizations with agendas. It’s impossible to link to them all, but here are a few that I’ve found interesting:
How to Take a Picture of a Severed Head [← This one was published before news of Foley's killing but fits in line with the discussion of publishing images released by terrorist organizations, governments, etc.]
Meanwhile, over the weekend, tremendous news arrived that Peter Theo Curtis, a journalist missing since 2012, had been released. He was apparently held by an Al Qaeda affiliate there after his abduction from Turkey near the Syrian Border.
James Foley was my middle school teacher in a very poor neighborhood and all I want to say is thank you Mr. Foley you helped shape me into the man I am today….This man always preached being open and respectful to other cultures. It’s unfortunate that his openness lead to this.” -Reddit user wheelchaircharlie
I won’t link to the video (or watch it, myself), but thought it’d be worthwhile to link to some remembrances of James Foley and his reporting. I never knew him, but he was a friend and colleague of many of my friends. By all accounts, he was a great guy filled with kindness and a passion for sharing his knowledge and talents. He will be missed.
The video also reportedly shows another journalist held captive by ISIL. These images have informed the first public reports that reporter Steven Sotloff was being detained in Syria. It is worth noting that information about individuals who have been kidnapped is often held secret for their safety and in hopes of aiding negotiations for their release. This extends to journalists reporting about their colleagues who are in danger, with a reluctance to discuss, report or reveal information publicly.
Here are a few posts that we have been reading after news of Foley’s killing:
It’s also worth remembering the many other journalists, aid workers and contractors still missing around the world, and the many who have been killed this year. Men’s Journal has a good, short refresher about what they call “The Forgotten Hostage Crisis.” As always, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders remain essential reading for keeping up to date on this issue. The CPJ reports that 30 reporters and photographers have been killed so far in 2014.
There’s also a good discussion to be had about the ethics and effects of publishing images from militants’ propaganda videos. Many journalists, across our networks on Facebook and Twitter, have urged their colleagues to refrain from publishing any images of Foley’s execution contending that publishing images of this act only serves to perpetuate ISIS’ terror. Likewise, social media companies such as Facebook and Youtube have been actively working to block some images from the video from appearing on their networks. We should revisit this issue of visual representation and politics at a later date, along with other relevant discussions that we are having this week.
We wish peace and healing to Foley’s family and friends, and the families of the many other colleagues who have died in recent months, and to those still missing.
But these images aren’t coming from Egypt or the Gaza Strip or Ukraine. These are our own, homegrown documents of social unrest and they can’t, like images from more distant lands, be kept safely at bay.” -Philip Kennicott, Washington Post … Continued
Sohrab Hura is one of the photographers whose work I’ve been eagering following closely for years, going back to when Scott and I first saw his work on Flickr. His earlier photos are reminiscent of traditional black and white reportage … Continued
I lived in China from 2007 to 2010, and haven’t been back since. Thankfully, all of that is changing right now. I’ll be back in China for the last two weeks of July, mostly in the middle of the country. … Continued
81 shot, 14 fatal, 330p Thursday-330a Monday. 5 of 81 by police (2 dead, 3 wounded) #chicago pic.twitter.com/SztDXX35pz — Peter Nickeas (@PeterNickeas) July 7, 2014 “I found myself barefoot, ankle deep in water, holding the hand of a 17-year-old boy … Continued
Freelancers—writers, photographers, illustrators, and otherwise—tell us the rates are low, and that Vice (like many other publications) is often slow in paying them. Salaries at Vice Media and the company’s pay rate for contract work were described to us as … Continued
I’m still shocked by the news of Camille Lepage’s death in Central African Republic last week. We finally met in person a few weeks ago at the New York Times Lens Portfolio Review. It’s been tough to see her picture … Continued
After my participation in the US-Russia Young Media Professionals Exchange in late 2012, I’ve been keeping an eye on news regarding media and journalism in Russia. The latest development is a new law requiring bloggers to register with the state … Continued
There’ve been a bunch of legal developments in the world of photography and copyright in the past couple weeks. Here are a few things that have been on my radar that all have relevance to freelance and staff photographers in … Continued
Getty’s latest move in the stock photography market has been met with shock and horror. 35 million of Getty’s images are now free to embed, unwatermarked, for “noncommercial use,” which includes websites that run advertisements (see the image embedded above). … Continued
“A ruling by an administrative law judge on Thursday held that the Federal Aviation Administration lacks clear-cut authority to ban the commercial use of drones in the continental U.S.” -Wall Street Journal In January, I wrote about the legal issues … Continued