Talks on War Photography Today among others Susan Meiselas & Carolyn Cole

Date Friday 27 October 2023
Time 3:30 - 8:15 pm
Location Fotomuseum Den Haag / Kunstmuseum Den Haag
Language English


To coincide with the exhibition Women on the Front Line – Photography from Lee Miller to Anja Niedringhaus, Fotomuseum Den Haag is organising an in-depth programme of events on contemporary war photography. Internationally renowned American photographers Carolyn Cole and Susan Meiselas, both of whose work is featured in the exhibition, will talk about their work and what drives them to return time and time again to conflict zones.  

Prior to the two interviews with our main guests, we will hold panel discussions in which Dutch and foreign photographers will talk about the changing role and working practices of the war photographer.


3:30 – 4:15 pm
Panel discussion: Who Gets Access to the Front?
With Anush Babajanyan, Carolyn Cole and Robert Knoth

In the first panel discussion, Who Gets Access to the Front?, photographers Anush Babajanyan, Carolyn Cole and Robert Knoth will talk about their experiences within the changing media landscape in recent decades. Cole has worked for the Los Angeles Times since the 1990s; Babajanyan and Knoth work for a variety of clients. In both cases, there are practical and ethical issues: how do you gain access to the front and how do you ensure your safety in unknown and dangerous terrain? And does it make a difference if you are a woman? This panel will also ask what kind of stories the media needs and which they consider important. Where does the journalist’s responsibility end and the media’s responsibility begin? 


4:30 – 5:15 pm
Panel discussion: Who Made the Image? 
With Sakir Khader, Yana Kononova and Susan Meiselas

The second panel discussion, Who Made the Image?, will explore the position of the photographer. What is the perspective of a photojournalist who spends a brief period in a conflict zone compared with photographers who know the area intimately? Dutch / Palestinian photographer Sakir Khader and Ukrainian photographer Yana Kononova will discuss this insider/outsider perspective with Susan Meiselas. Khader, who is based in the Netherlands, is known for his reports on the Arab world commissioned by Dutch newspapers and television stations. Kononova felt compelled to become a war photographer following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meiselas believes it is important to return to areas where she has photographed in the past to investigate the significance her photos had for the local people.


7:00 – 7:30 pm
The Importance of Documenting Conflict Zones
Interview with Carolyn Cole

7:45 – 8:15 pm
The Stories Behind the Images 
Interview with Susan Meiselas


Anush Babajanyan
Armenian photographer Anush Babajanyan is a member of VII Photo and a National Geographic Explorer. Anush focuses her work on social narratives and personal stories. In addition to working extensively in the South Caucasus, she continues to photograph in Central Asia and around the world. Babajanyan has recently published her book on Nagorno-Karabakh, called A Troubled Home. 

Carolyn Cole
Carolyn Cole (USA, 1961) has been a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times since 1994 and began travelling to war zones around the world in the late 1990s. She often gets close to people’s faces to show the emotional impact of the conflicts on civilians. At the start of the Iraq War, Cole reported from Baghdad, where she witnessed the bombings by American forces. From there, she travelled to West Africa to report on the civil war in Liberia. Although she was recently deployed to cover the war in Ukraine, her attention has now shifted to topics related to climate change. For her work, she has been awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal several times and the Pulitzer Prize.

Susan Meiselas
The documentary photographer Susan Meiselas (USA, 1948) joined the renowned photo agency Magnum in 1976 and has been reporting independently on wars, humanitarian crises and other political events in Central and South America for decades. Her photographs of the Nicaraguan Revolution of 1978-79, which grew out of her fascination with the growing student opposition to the military dictatorship, were first published by The New York Times and have since been reproduced by countless other media outlets. Her photos brought the conflict to the world’s attention.

Meiselas’s social documentary projects are based on a long-term, sustainable approach, in which she frequently returns to places and people she has photographed in the past. By constantly showing her images in different ways, including in films and in public spaces, she reflects on the ways in which photography can have an impact.

Sakir Khader
Sakir Khader (Palestine, 1990) is a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in the Netherlands. His main focus is on the relationship between life and death in conflict zones, especially in the Middle East. Known for his raw yet intimate cinematic style, Khader always seeks to shed light on everyday life.

Robert Knoth
Freelance photographer Robert Knoth (The Netherlands, 1963) works on long-running projects that document the complexities of social, economic, political and environmental conflicts and their impact on the lives of ordinary people. He has worked in war zones or documented the aftermath of conflicts in Europe, Africa and Asia. Together with Antoinette de Jong, he has worked on award-winning projects such as Poppy: Trails of Afghan Heroin, Certificate no. 000358/ and Tree and Soil.

Yana Kononova
Artist Yana Kononova (Azerbaijan, 1977) has an academic background in social sciences and a PhD in sociology. She lives and works in Kiev, Ukraine. Her work encompasses research into various art subjects and the way they have been conceptualised in cultural history. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she felt compelled to become a war photographer.


The exhibition and programme of Women on the Front Line - Photography by Lee Miller to Anja Niedringhaus is supported by ASN Bank and V-Fonds.