Watching the news or reading a magazine, it's easy to forget about the person behind the camera - that critical eye that pulls you emotionally into the story or conflict being reported. Hundreds of photojournalist put themselves in harm's way to expand the story beyond the typed or read word. During the month of November, HBO shares the photographer's story in a four-part docu-series titled Witness.
"The amazing thing is we don't know many of them," explains Witness director and executive producer, David Frankham to an audience at the premiere of South Sudan at the Bronze Lens Film Festival earlier this month. "They have affected the way we see the world, how we think about conflicts all over and we don't know many by name."
Profiling three photojournalists embedded within four international conflicts, Witness gives its viewers a glimpse into the difficult path these photographers take. Starting with Jurez, photographer Eros Hoagland takes you along with police and military officials as they try to gain a foothold on the drug war happening just miles away from the U.S. border. Libya follows photojournalist Michael Christopher Brown as he pays a personal price to capture the faces and voices of the Libyan conflict. French photographer Veronique de Viguerie scours Sudan in search of the Joseph Kony alongside the Arrow Boys in South Sudan. The series ends with Hoagland personally walking the line between responsibility and safety in Rio, a city at war with the world's eyes upon them.
Frankham who directs three of the four segments knows first-hand the sacrifices and choices each photographer makes when embedding themselves within a conflict having he and his crew following each photographers on their assignments. Still he feels it's necessary in order to tell these stories.
"It's important that people put themselves in these situations to give a voice to people who do not have a voice and to pour the light on situations ... I do believe they can create change."
The fourth installment of the series Rio airs tonight on HBO at 9:00 p.m. Previous episodes of the series are available at HBO Go, or on demand through premium cable subscription.