Veteran photojournalist Bruce Haley has seen the worst of us. He's covered conflicts stretching back to the Afghan battle against the Soviet Union. Ten years ago, he wrote something he called The Tao of War Photography. It's part training manual and part memoir. It's mostly tragic and it's a little bit hilarious. Here are some highlights and a few of Haley's photographs (or read The Tao of War Photography in its entirety):
Photo: National Liberation Army guerrilla fighter; Burma
"To begin with, practice this sentence: 'If I get out of here alive, I’ll never do this again.'
"...The editors of the major magazines really don’t give a rat’s ass about the latest war and famine in the hinterlands of East BurkinaTimorLanka. You’ll never get an assignment to cover this unless Leonardo DiCaprio becomes a rebel commander and Tommy Hilfiger designs his battle fatigues.
"...Absent Leo and Tommy, a few murdered white tourists will cause a temporary blip on the radar screen. Or not.
"...It is said that sudden fright causes people to soil themselves. I have noticed that sustained fright causes increased flatulence: fear-farting. I have also seen Afghan mujahideen run out into a heavy rain of incoming artillery rather than shelter in a small crevice with two fear-farting Western journalists.
Photo: Terrified women shelter in a ditch, after being caught out in the open during an artillery barrage; Croatia
"...Do you believe in a personal, loving God who really cares about us mortals down here? Go to a few war zones and famine areas and watch all those innocent children die, then answer this question.
"...On the flipside of #11: many of the people who have actually suffered through such hardships show the greatest faith I’ve ever encountered on the planet. Go figure.
Photo: Guerrilla fighters near the Andaman Sea; Burma
"...Equation: the number of journalists covering any given conflict is directly proportional to the proximity of comfortable lodging and booze.
"...Always keep in mind the following when you photograph people in war zones and other awful places: You’re there because you want to be—they aren’t and you can leave—they can’t."
For more of Haley's fantastic photos, which extend well beyond war zones, visit his BruceHaleyPictures.com.
Images by Bruce Haley.