Photojournalist James Nachtwey ’70 Injured in Thailand


Acclaimed photojournalist James Nachtwey ’70, who spent the 2012-13 academic year at Dartmouth as the inaugural Roth Distinguished Visiting Scholar, was shot in the leg on February 1 in the midst of pre-election violence in Thailand.

James Nachtwey ’70 spent the 2012-13 academic year at Dartmouth as the inaugural Roth Distinguished Visiting Scholar. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

“I got hit in the leg with a bullet during a gunfight,” the 65-year-old photographer told the Wall Street Journal’s Southeast Asia Realtime blog. “There’s an entry and exit. I’m walking now. I’m okay.”

Seven people were wounded in Bangkok on February 1, as pro- and anti-government protesters clashed in the streets prior to Sunday’s controversial national elections.

“I consider myself extremely lucky,” Nachtwey told the blog. Medics cleaned his wound on the site, and Nachtwey said he later received treatment at a local hospital. He told Southeast Asia Realtime that he planned to return to work the next day.

Nachtwey has been injured on several shoots, including once seriously during fighting in Iraq in 2003. As he told Dartmouth Now prior to receiving the Dresden International Peace Prize in February 2012, “I’ve been called a war photographer, but I feel that my work has been as an anti-war photographer.”

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The photographer has chronicled dozens of wars and conflicts, from Bosnia to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as famine and genocide in places like Sudan and Rwanda. He has worked for TIME since 1984, but was not on assignment for the magazine in Thailand. A series he shot in a Syrian refugee camp was featured in last week’s issue.

Nachtwey is the winner of numerous awards, including a TED Prize and a Heinz Foundation Award. He is also the subject of War Photographer, which was nominated for the 2002 “best documentary” Academy Award.

Dartmouth awarded Nachtwey an honorary degree in 2010, and he was in residence at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding during the spring 2012 term as the Class of 1950 Senior Foreign Affairs Fellow.

Bonnie Barber