Do you remember what you were doing when you were 20? Drinking cheap beer and eating cheaper pizza? Thought so. Well, savor the feeling because when French photojournalist Remi Ochlik was 20, he was in Haiti photographing the 2004 riots surrounding the country’s presidential elections. He won awards. He started the photo agency IP3. He shot more conflicts.
He was a young, ambitious, and incredibly talented photojournalist.
When the Arab Spring erupted, he went to cover it. He photographed the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt before turning to the more dangerous conflict in Libya, where he took pictures that earned him first place in the prestigious World Press Photo Contest.
Then he went to Syria. Ochlik was only 28 when he and American conflict journalist Marie Colvin were killed during the shelling of Homs in February. Ochlik, Colvin, and other conflict journalists regularly—and willingly—enter extremely dangerous situations to show people like us what’s actually happening on the ground. Starting this week,
56 of Ochlik’s photographs will be on display for Revolutions at the Art Institute of Boston and you can walk in and see them for free.
“We’re often kept at such a remove from these conflicts,” said Bonnell Robinson, who curated the exhibition, “And Ochlik, like the citizen journalists who just pick up their iPhones and start shooting, really bridges that divide.”
Ochlik was constantly getting as close to the action as anyone could be, shooting in wide angles so viewers can see both the subject and their environment. The photos are so visceral that you can practically hear the cries of protesters and the smoke in the desert.
“I expected to see horrible things. Yes, I was afraid,” Ochlik was reported to have said during the conflict.
His bravery continues to inspire, and his dedication will be missed.
COSPONSORED BY THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF FRANCE IN BOSTON
SATURDAY 1.26.13-FRIDAY 2.22.13
THE ART INSTITUTE OF BOSTON AT LESLEY UNIVERSITY
700 BEACON ST.
9AM-6PM MON-SAT/ALL AGES/FREE
A related panel discussion on the role of photojournalism in the context of the Arab Spring will be held January 30.