You'll have to pe patient for the movie, that is being shot
at the moment in Thokoza township, that used to be a no go area near Johannesburg in the early nineties. The book however is a mustread. The Bang Bang Club
is the history of four South-African photographers reporting on the bloody hostel wars in the period heading to the first elections after apartheid in 1994. Followers of Inkatha and ANC engage in a bloody war, that later proved to be encouraged by the apartheid regime trying to frustrate South-Africa's transition to democracy. Now the AK-47's sound again on Khumalo Street, but this time they're firing blanks. The filming of The Bang Bang Club by director Steven Silver
will appear next year.
Because the four photographers seemed to find themselves almost routinely in the line of fire, a South-African magazine dubbed them the Bang Bang Paparazzi. Two of them didn't survive. The remaining two wrote a book about their experiences, that is impressive not for the description of a black page in South-African recent history, but because Greg Marinovich
and Joao Silva
so strikingly recount the dilemmas of a war photographer and the way the profession can affect your personality.
Most touching in the book is the story of Kevin Carter
. This was the man who took the world famous picture
of the Sudanese emaciated child with a vulture nearby. The photograph was awarded with a Pulitzer-prize
, but Carter couldn't enjoy it. He was consumed with the violence he'd witnessed. Also he couldn't answer the question what happened to the little girl in the picture. As soon als the New York Times published it in 1993, readers wanted to know about her, but the photographer had to admit he did nothing but shoot his picture. In 1994, after Mandela was inaugurated president, Carter commited suicide.
A fragment from the book: 'Good pictures. Tragedy and violence certainly make good images. It is what we get paid for. But there is a price extracted with every such frame:some of the emotion, the vulnerability, the empathy that makes us human, is lost every time the shutter is released.'
Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, The Bang Bang Club. Snapshots of a Hidden War (UK, 2000)