Monday, November 12, 2007
Colin Finlay - Master Of The Immersive
Colin Finlay gets close to the human condition and the suffering of others. Real close.
Robert Capa's famous dictum stated that “If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough.” Photojournalist Colin Finlay's pictures are so good, they're almost too good—blunt, honest, yet beautiful to behold.
Living in his car for nine months to funnel his funds into photo-journalism speaks of Finlay's immersive approach to his work. “I just needed to go out and tell stories,” explains Finlay. “My own comfort came second to showing the truth.”
Finlay's current activities are focused on Proof: Media for Social Justice, an organization he cofounded that's committed to creating awareness in post-conflict societies such as Darfur and Rwanda.
“Proof is looking at larger social issues,” says Finlay. “I'm still deeply concerned about the human condition in the world today, but broadening my view to include other photographers' work. It's about telling the stories of other people's lives for everyone to see.”
Finlay's most recent work is loosely entitled “Project Earth,” an undertaking that highlights his completely immersive approach to photography. He has photographed oil devastation in Romania, drought in Africa, the disappearance of civilizations and ancient culture in Easter Island, West Virginia mountaintop removal, Agent Orange in Vietnam and the loss of land in Cambodia due to the million-plus land mines in its soil.
“The ways I see it is that you affect change by creating awareness,” says Finlay of the project. “What people choose to do with it is up to them, but at least I've been a catalyst. That's my drive, that's my passion.”
Finlay is renowned for his documentary work. Rare are those who capture the human spirit amid genocide, war and famine with such compassion, empathy and dignity.