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I was a student in the '60s, a time of social upheaval and questioning, and -- on a personal level -- an awakening sense of idealism. The war in Vietnam was raging, the Civil Rights movement was under way and pictures had a powerful influence on me. Our political and military leaders were telling us one thing and photographers were telling us another.
I believed the photographers and so did millions of other Americans. Their images fuelled resistance to the war and to racism. They not only recorded history -- they helped change the course of history. Their pictures became part of our collective consciousness and, as consciousness evolved into a shared sense of conscience, change became not only possible, but inevitable.
It puts a human face on issues which, from afar, can appear abstract or ideological or monumental in their global impact. What happens at ground level, far from the halls of power, happens to ordinary citizens one by one. And I understood that documentary photography has the ability to interpret events from their point of view. It gives a voice to those who otherwise would not have a voice.
My TED wish. There’s a vital story that needs to be told and I wish for TED to help me gain access to it and then to help me come up with innovative and exciting ways to use news photography in the digital era. Thank you very much.
[ TB is preventable and curable, ] [ but it is mutating due to inadequate treatment. ] [ XDR-TB: ] [ extreme drug resistant tuberculosis. ] [ There is no reliable cure. ] [ Patients often die within weeks of diagnosis. ] [ 49 countries have reported XDR-TB. ] [ XDR-TB is a critical threat to global health. ]
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Photojournalist James Nachtwey sees his TED Prize wish come true, as we share his powerful photographs of XDR-TB, a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis that's touching off a global medical crisis. Learn how to help at http://www.xdrtb.org
Photojournalist James Nachtwey is considered by many to be the greatest war photographer of recent decades. He has covered conflicts and major social issues in more than 30 countries. Full bio »