In this week’s Breathe Pictures podcast, I’d like to you hear, to meet, Giles Penfound, a former head of press photography for the British Army. Early in 2017 I made a film with Giles, a link to that is below – and during the podcast you’ll hear him make reference to the photographs that he shows within that film. If it weren’t for his graphic description of the images, this episode may just have resided as that film, but the ability to transpose this to sound only is testament to how Giles describes his life as a photographer in the army and what it means to be a professional photographer in that most challenging theatre of war.
His time in Northern Ireland, his work during conflicts in Bosnia and Iraq as an army photographer leave a pictorial legacy, many of his photographs are historical documents, some have been used as evidence in international court. So today’s programme is a real journey of light and shade, it’s not simply about the sharp end of military photographic duty, it’s about how a photographer starts, finds inspiration, finds the craft, hones that craft and turns it to subject matter of a somewhat lighter nature sometimes.
You’re about to hear the gentle, honest, observational, authentic, sometimes troubled thoughts of a photographer who earned clear respect from Colonel Tim Collins who during the 2003 Iraq war made that infamous ever-of-battle speech, a copy which apparently hung in the Oval Office. During an interview for the BBC, he compared the honesty of Giles work to that of the legendary war photographer Robert Capa, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and greatest combat photographers in history. The Podcast is available through the iTunes, Podcast player and if you’re an iPhone user, the incredibly good podcast app, Overcast.
Photographs copyright Giles Penfound, used with permission
The film: War Photographer Life Photographer
Giles Penfound returns to Bosnia: Mail online story
The People at Jodhpur Junction: http://blog.leica-camera.com/2015/08/06/giles-penfound-the-people-at-jodhpur-junction/