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LW: Do you see Libyan Sugar as conforming to or breaking with conventions in the coverage of war?
MCB: It breaks the conventions in several ways. I used an iPhone, which at the time was both technically challenging and ethically contestable by some, due to the quality of images it produced. Also, in this book I do not allow myself to be John Wayne, something I often think war photographers do, or did; they become heroes and feed off this persona — and this includes myself, at least at the time. In addition, the book breaks with tradition in that that I placed myself in the story as the main character, when some would say it should only be about the Libyans. I also incorporated many images of the dead in ways that might be ethically debatable; these are images that would never, say, run in the New York Times. But the book also conforms with conventions in some of its other images—there is classic revolutionary imagery, for instance. At the same time, there is also a more artistic interpretation. So it bridges photojournalism with a more contemporary art perspective.
Eliana Aponte was a staff Reuters photographer for 12 years. Based in Israel and Palestinian territories, Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, she covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Lebanon-Israel war, the Iraq war, Colombia’s conflict, Haiti’s 2004 political crisis, Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, Central American migration through Mexico to the U.S. She also covered Rio de Janeiro’s carnival and Athens Summer Olympic games and many sport events and top news around the región. Before joining Reuters, Aponte worked for AFP in Panama two years, and for newspapers and magazines in Colombia. Aponte is a graduate of the University Externado de Colombia’s communications and journalism school. She was a jury member of World Press Photo contest 2016 in General News category. Speaker of TedxBogotáMujeres in Colombia 2017. Jury member in Image category of Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI) 2018.
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