The Right Footage

Illustrating the Archive: Didier Lefèvre and ‘The Photographer’

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© Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre, Frédérique Lemercier, Le Photographe (France: Dupuis, 2010).

From the vibrant city of Peshawar to the remote town of Zaragandara in Afghanistan, The Photographer transports the reader into war zones where fascination and indignation mingle together. The book tells the true story of photojournalist Didier Lefèvre whose job was to cover a three-month MSF (Doctors without Borders) mission in the summer of 1986. Following the Soviet invasion of 1979, countless Afghans suffered from the ravaging conflict. MSF was there to rescue the helpless and heal innocent citizens who were injured. In this engaging graphic novel, war is not glamorous. The reader witnesses the atrocity engendered by war as Lefèvre walks from village to village, observing and recording the distress of innocents. Guibert shows the conflict through the lens of a vulnerable photographer, for whom danger is omnipresent and whose fear and tension are highly perceptible. As immersive as it is intense, The Photographer is in line with other classic graphic novels such as Maus (1986-91), Palestine (1993-95), and Persepolis (2000-03).  (more…)

Archive Researchers

Featuring: Mahawish Rezvi, Karachi

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You’ve worked in both the U.S. and Pakistan. Do archival repositories, licensing, and research procedures differ for you in Pakistan versus in the U.S.?

Working in both these countries has been an invaluable experience. While working in the United States one really learns to work within the confines of the laws and rules, meaning licensing and copyright laws are strictly enforced. This is not the case in Pakistan, one gets away with a lot more, the flip side being it is harder to get archival material. Pakistan went through a television news revolution in the early 2000s now as these organizations come of age they have accumulated a sizable archive and are now trying to figure out policies and rates according to demand.  (more…)