Jeff Wijder: At the heart of the news
Best known for his photo taken of the man in front of the tank during the 1989 Tian’anmen uprising in Beijing, “Tank Man”, –an image that made the front pages of many newspapers and magazines at the time and made him one of the finalists nameés for the Pulitzer 1990-, Jeff Widener is a highly respected and award-winning photojournalist (Columbia University DART Award, Harry Chapin Media Award, Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, Scoop Award in France, etc.)
Widener grew up in Southern California where he attended Reseda High School, Los Angeles Pierce College, and Moorpark College majoring in photojournalism. In 1974, he won the Kodak Scholastic National Photography Fellowship, for 8,000 students from across the United States. The prize included a study trip to East Africa.
In 1978, Widener began his career as a press photographer in California and later moved to Nevada and then to Indiana. At the age of 25 he accepted a job in Brussels at United Press International. His first mission abroad was the Solidarity Riots in Poland.
Over the years, he has carried out assignments in more than 100 countries from civil unrest and war to social issues. He was the first photojournalist to deposit digital images of the South Pole. In 1987, he was hired as the Associated Press Picture’s Southeast Asia Editor, where he wrote key stories in the region, from the Gulf War to the Olympics. Other posts included East Timor, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Burma, Syria, Jordan, India, Laos, Vietnam, Pakistan and many more.
Your first photographic click?
Jeff Widener : I still have the photo. My grandfather’s who walked to our home in Canoga Park, California, in 1967. The camera was a Kodak Flashfun Hawkeye offered by my parents, I was 10 years old.
The image man or woman that inspires you?
Jeff Widener : There are several, including: Josef Koudelka, Eliott Erwitt, W. Eugene Smith, Larry Burrows.
The image you wish you had made?
Jeff Widener : I’ve already done it… “Tank Man”.
The one you regret not doing?
Jeff Widener : I would have liked to have made more images of the Tiananmen Square uprising. I hurt my head the night of the massacre and I had the flu. And then I was just too scared.
The one that appealed to you the mostI?
Jeff Widener : The image of an American girl on the street in Italy in 1951 by Ruth Orkin. A fantastic image of street photography.
And the one who put you in the collareD ?
Jeff Widener : I’ve never taken a photo that made me angry, but during an Air Vietnam crash in Bangkok in the 1980s, I saw a group of Thai photographers ask a rescuer to hold up a passenger’s severed leg for a photo. I couldn’t bear it.
If you had to choose just one of your images?
Jeff Widener : “Tank Man”, because this image will always confirm my presence on this planet.
A key image in your personal pantheon?
Jeff Widener : I have to go back to “Tank Man”.
The qualityneed to be a good photographer?
Jeff Widener : It’s not so much about quality as being able to feel an emotional response to your environment and anticipate the decisive moment before it happens.
The secret to the perfect image, if it exists?
Jeff Widener : A perfect image is an image that immediately tells a story and stays in your brain for weeks or years. It can remind you of a song, an old lover or a moment in your life. An American Girl in Italy 1951 by Ruth Orkin is a classic example.
The person you would dream of photographing?
Jeff Widener : I’ve photographed just about every head of state, royalty and celebrities, but if I ever could… I would have loved to follow The Beatles in their heyday, with full access and full. The momentum and global coverage and repercussion would have been phenomenal.
An indispensable photo book?
Jeff Widener : Josef Koudelka – Exile.
The camera of your debut?
Jeff Widener : Nikon FTN, Nikon F2.
Which one are you using today?
Jeff Widener : Leica M7, Leica R8, Nikon D810.
your favorite medicinee?
Jeff Widener : Approval.
The best way to disconnect?
Jeff Widener : Some of my favorite moments were nights spent alone in a third world guest house with no electricity. In these moments, sitting in the dark, you lose yourself in personal reflection. Then, when it gets depressing, step outside and be greeted by swaying palm trees and a star-filled night sky. In moments like these I really feel alive.
Your greatest quality
Jeff Widener : Forgiveness.
An image illustrating a new banknote?
Jeff Widener : Charles Lindbergh.
The work you would rather not have done?
Jeff Wijder: Culinary photographer.
Your biggest spectacle as a photographer?
Jeff Widener † Costs are not an object for self-assigned stories†
The values you want to share through your images?
Jeff Widener : I appreciate honesty. Journalism is a noble, neutral and impartial profession. Any deviation is sacrilege to the profession.
The city, country or culture you dream ofyou are doingto discover?
Jeff Widener : The North Pole. I went to the South Pole. After doing assignments in more than 100 countries, I have found that most cultures have very similar desires, especially when it comes to family.
Your biggest regret?
Jeff Widener : Too many things to list.
Instagram, Tik Tok or Snapchat?
Jeff Widener : Instagram.
Color or B/W?
Jeff Widener : It depends on what you need. But I have a soft spot for the Tri-X 400.
lightre of the day or the lighteare you artificial
Jeff Widener : Depends on the need, but I prefer natural light.
The most photogenic city in your opinion?
Jeff Widener : New York. A blind monkey can find a picture to take.
If God existed, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you take a selfie with him?
Jeff Widener : Neither. I would just thank him.
The image that represents to you the current state of the world?
Jeff Widener : Shopping centers in flames.
What is missing in today’s world?
Jeff Widener : Mental health.
What if everything had to be redone?
Jeff Widener : I would like to remember everything.