The worst thing is to feel that as a photographer I am benefiting from someone else’s tragedy. This idea haunts me. It’s something I have to reckon with every day because I know that if I ever allowed genuine compassion to be overtaken by personal ambition, I will have sold my soul. The only way I can justify my role is to have respect for the other person’s predicament. The extent to which I do that is the extent to which I become accepted by the other; and to that extent, I can accept myself.
I want to record history through the destiny of individuals who often belong to the least wealthy classes. I do not want to show war in general, nor history with a capital H, but rather the tragedy of a single man, of a family.
The most incomprehensible situation I’ve ever witnessed was Rwanda where we don’t really know how many people died; the estimate of half a million to a million. They were killed with very primitive weapons; clubs and rocks and machetes, face to face. And I saw some massacre sites and I just do not understand how people can do that to each other. What can inspire such fear and such hatred? This is beyond my understanding really. It’s very difficult to get over that.