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Time photographer earns Heinz humanities award

September 25, 2006|Scott Timberg | Times Staff Writer

New York-based photojournalist James Nachtwey, who has shot war and famine for Time magazine for more than 20 years, has won the Heinz Award in the arts and humanities.

Nachtwey, 58, who has worked for Time since 1984 and been the subject of a documentary, the Academy Award-nominated "War Photographer," has captured images of AIDS victims in Zimbabwe, ruins in Chechnya, poor laborers in India, the war in Bosnia and New York City on Sept. 11.

"What we recognized was a formal excellence," said juror James Rondeau, curator of contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago. "Of more importance was his concern with heightening awareness of global social injustice, by his unflinching witness through the camera.

"Certainly, in the last several years, Nachtwey's engagement with wartime situations has become of heightened importance," Rondeau said. "That work isn't new for him, but our sensitivities have been altered."

Nachtwey's work has appeared, over the last quarter of a century in National Geographic, Stern and the New York Times Magazine. He began as a self-taught photographer after working in the Merchant Marines, traveling Europe and working as a photographer's assistant.

In a statement, Teresa Heinz, chairwoman of the Heinz Family Foundation, credits the photographer with "art that powerfully exposes man's inhumanity to man."

In winning the award, Nachtwey also receives $250,000.

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