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At some point after I started asking questions about what it means to be a good man--a question that is impossible to answer with completeness but has never been more important--I was introduced to Michael Kamber through our mutual friend Seb Junger. I was interested to understand what a man who had watched every major armed conflict over the last 20 years at dangerously close range might say about the goodness of men who he witnessed butchering each other in warfare. At the time, Michael was on the ground in Bagdad, taking pictures for the New York Times. I began to notice his pictures on the cover of the paper on a regular basis, always showing the human side of war. In one memorable image a soldier in full armaments is carrying a Iraqi baby in his arms to safety. That image embodied a kind of goodness that I wanted to know more about, an act profound humanity in the eye of a terrible storm of violence. Michael told me about stepping inside a shack to take images of the platoon he was imbedded with in Iraq only to have the men march forward and get blown up. He explained that first he tried to save the men he had come to know and respect who lay dying. Then he had to do his job, taking pictures. He told the commanding officer that he could take the camera
later but he had to try to capture what he was seeing. It became clear to me over time that Michael's definition of a good man involved revealing the truth to the world, no matter what the personal cost.
Photo Credit Michael Kamber for Good Men Project
Three years later, Michael and I had become good friends. So it was with heavy heart that I heart the news of Tim Hetherington's death. I knew Tim and Michael had been frequent roommates and best friends for years. Tim and Seb had made Restrepo, arguably the best documentary on war ever produced. I had traded emails with Tim just weeks before his death. Michael was devastated by Tim's death. He was left to plan Tim's memorial service with Seb and somehow try to comfort Tim's parents. But within hours he was talking about writing a story about not only about the man but about how he had changed photojournalism. In the end together we published a piece about just that along with many photos Michael had taken that had never been seen before and an audio interview in which Michael asks Tim exactly why he took the pictures he did and what connection he saw between manhood and war. Please click below for the story, exclusive photos, and interview:
PhotoJournalist, Giant Photo Gallery Audio Interview