What’s James Natchwey’s TB Slideshow have to do with weddings?

I recently revisited the incredible project documenting TB across the World by renowned photographer James Natchwey.  I first saw images from this work while while doing some maintenance on the archive while interning at VII photo agency.

When I came across these images, I couldn’t help by sit wide eyed for a while, shell-shocked by the faces distorted in pain. One image showed the emaciated back of a man washing himself. You could count each vertebrae of the spine and every single rib jotting through his thin skin. I was just blown away.

A few months later I was able to attend the opening of the project at the United Nations in New York and here Natchwey talk.  Seeing all the prints as a whole was a remarkable experience.

It would not suffice to say that Natchwey is a rarity. He establishes trust and intimacy with his subjects quickly, as though he were family, a lover, a friend.  His level of commitment is inspiring.  I asked him once if he ever thought about retiring (not that I thought he should). He seemed to be surprised by this question, “retire? Oh no, I’ll keep doing this till I can’t walk anymore. I still have a lot to photograph.”

Whether I’m shooting weddings, boudoir, or daily life, I often think about his work; my subject matter may be very different, but I feel respect and intimacy are just as essential.

If you have three minutes, watch his slideshow.  It’s well worth it. I encourage you to pass on the slideshow.