What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time
  • What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time
  • What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time
  • What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time
  • What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time
<Previous >Next

What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time

by David Elliot Cohen
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

For more than a century, photography has revealed truths, exposed lies, advanced the public discourse, and inspired people to demand change. Socially conscious pioneers with cameras transformed the world—and that legacy lives on in this eye-opening, thought-provoking, and (we hope) action-inducing book. Like Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives,See more details below

Overview

For more than a century, photography has revealed truths, exposed lies, advanced the public discourse, and inspired people to demand change. Socially conscious pioneers with cameras transformed the world—and that legacy lives on in this eye-opening, thought-provoking, and (we hope) action-inducing book. Like Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and Jonathan Schell’s The Fate of the Earth before it, we believe that What Matters will fundamentally alter the way we see and understand the human race and our planet.
What Matters asks: What are the essential issues of our time? What are the pictures that will spark public outrage and spur reform? The answer appears in 18 powerful, page-turning stories by the foremost photojournalists of our age, edited by The New York Times best-selling author/editor David Elliot Cohen (A Day in the Life and America 24/7 series), and featuring trenchant commentary from well-recognized experts and thinkers in appropriate fields. Photographer Gary Braasch and climate-change guru Bill McKibben provide “A Global Warming Travelogue” that takes us from ice caves in Antarctica to smoke-spewing coal plants in Beijing. Brent Stirton and Peter A. Glick examine a “Thirsty World,” chronicling the daily search for clean water in non-developed countries. James Nachtwey and bestselling poverty expert Jeffrey D. Sachs look at the causes of, and cures for, global poverty in “The Bottom Billion.” Stephanie Sinclair and Judith Bruce present the preteen brides of Afghanistan, Nepal, and Ethiopia.
Sometimes the juxtaposition of photographs can be startling: “Shop ‘til We Drop,” Lauren Greenfield’s images of upscale consumer culture, starkly contrast with Shehzad Noorani’s “Children of the Black Dust”—child laborers in Bangladesh, their faces blackened with carbon dust from recycled batteries.
The combination of compelling photographs and insightful writing make this a highly relevant, widely discussed book bound to appeal to anyone concerned about the crucial issues shaping our world. What Matters is, in effect, a 336-page illustrated letter to the next American president about the issues that count. It will inspire readers to do their part—however small—to make a difference: to help, the volume includes extensive “What You Can Do” sections with a menu of web links and effective actions readers can take now. This year give What Matters.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Hard to see, impossible to turn away
Issues and images combine in 'What Matters,' a powerful and passionate new book
By Michael Zajakowski
September 6, 2008

Great documentary photojournalism, squeezed out of mainstream newspapers and magazines in an age of shrinking column inches, has had a hard time gaining traction in other venues. Although it has found new life on web sites and in books, the age of the topical visual long form is in remission.

But nobody has told the 18 photographers in "What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time."

These are photo essays by some of today's best photojournalists following the great tradition begun over a hundred years ago with the expos�s of New York tenement life by Jacob Riis. Through the doggedness of these photographers - who are clearly committed to stirring us out of complacency - all the power and passion of the medium is evident in this book.

David Elliot Cohen, who co-created the famous "Day in the Life" series of photojournalism books, had a keen eye in selecting the photo essays and coupling each with cogent commentary from writers such as Samantha Power, professor at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute and Columbia University professor; and Elizabeth C. Economy, director for Asian Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The book is an engrossing journey from pristine wilderness to glittering Rodeo Drive boutiques with stops along the way focusing on genocide, global jidad, child labor and AIDS victims in Africa, to name a few.

In a provocative bit of editing, James Nachtwey's searing photo essay about global poverty, "The Bottom Billion," is jarringly followed by Lauren Greenfield's "Shop til We Drop," a vivid but embarrassing look at another extreme, which is only slightly less shameful than the first.

Some of the pieces will break your heart, some will anger you. All will make you think. To channel your thoughts and feelings into action, the book ends with an appendix "What You Can Do," offering hundreds of ways to be a part of the solution to these problems.

What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time
By David Elliot Cohen

- Michael Zajakowski, Chicago Tribune

Publishers Weekly

Cohen, creator of the photojournalism book America 24/7, edits this socially conscious collection of haunting photographs and disappointing essays that focus on the unchecked ravages of genocide, global warming, AIDS, child labor, extreme poverty and compulsive consumerism. While the pictures-especially the chilling "Images of Genocide" and Stephanie Seymour's portraits of child brides-disquiet with their beauty and horror, the accompanying text from such luminaries as Jeffrey Sachs and Bill McKibben is unfortunately hollow and anodyne, particularly Cohen's introduction ("do something... even something small... to help repair the world"), but Omer Bartov's statement that "Iconic photographs both record the deeds and potentially anesthetize us to them" provides a powerful caveat for this collection. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Those doubting the power of photojournalism to sway opinion and encourage action would do well to spend some time with this book. In 18 stories, each made up of photos by leading photojournalists and elucidated by short essays by public intellectuals and journalists, this book explores environmental devastation, war, disease, and the ravages of both poverty and great wealth. The photos are specific and personal in their subject matter and demonstrate how great photography can illuminate the universal by depicting the specific. Cohen has a goal beyond simply showcasing terrific photography. In his thoughtful introduction, he makes explicit his aim to connect the work compiled here with the great tradition of muckraking photography that helped to change conditions in New York tenements and to end child labor at the turn of the last century. A terrific concluding chapter directs readers to specific actions they can take if they are moved to do so by the book's images, and it's hard to imagine the reader who would not be moved. Highly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries supporting journalism and/or photography curricula.
—Rachel Bridgewater

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402758348
Publisher:
Sterling
Publication date:
09/02/2008
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >