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Conflict through the Eyes of Those Who Cover It; The Emotional Toll of Covering Violence; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired December 22, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London with a special edition,
looking back at some of the big stories this year.
And tonight: the view of the photographers on those big stories, from war zones to domestic abuse. Conflict is all around us.
But what does violence look like through the eyes of those who cover it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EROS HOAGLAND, PHOTOGRAPHER (voice-over): We have a grown man, unarmed, running around someone else's war zone, taking pictures.
Explain that to a child and see if it makes any sense to them.
All you got to do is stay alive, make sure nobody else gets hurt and make good pictures. That's it. Life becomes extremely simple.
Of course, the problem becomes, when you return, everything's complex again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's veteran war photographer Eros Hoagland, "In Conflict," which is a new miniseries exploring the role of photojournalists
in those conflict zones from the battlefield to the home front, the latter being the life work of Donna Ferrato, whose intimate portraits of domestic
violence offer a rare look into one of the most hidden forms of conflict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA FERRATO, PHOTOGRAPHER: When I walked into that bathroom the first night and I saw him going to hit her in the face, my first instinct
was, I got to get that picture because, if I get that picture, like I did during the day outside, maybe he'll stop again.
But when he went to hit her again, I grabbed his arm and I said, "What the hell are you doing? You're going to hurt her. Stop it.
"What are you doing?"
And he just threw me off and said, "Lookit, she's my wife."
And you have to just really look at these pictures, look at them and understand what she was feeling.
When you know that someone is being hurt, what do you do?
That's when my life got complicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that's them in the films. I asked Eros and Donna whether pictures have the power to bring about real change.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to you both.
HOAGLAND: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: The little clips that we played are quite dramatic because it kind of sums up everything.
Eros, you said how could you even explain to a kid, a teenager, what you're doing, running towards this violence, doing all of this?
And you have just had your own child.
How has that affected and impacted how you plan to continue your work?
HOAGLAND: Well, it's certainly made me think long and hard about rushing to the front line of any --
HOAGLAND: -- war zone. And I think maybe my time is running short on that kind of thing.
AMANPOUR: Do you feel that you're going to keep doing it?
HOAGLAND: I don't at this point. I can't say what will happen in the future but it just doesn't really seem worth it anymore, now that I have
someone who is completely dependent on me.
AMANPOUR: OK, so that's very interesting. I'm going to come back to that.
Because, Donna, I'm going to ask you, Eros has said that he doesn't necessarily feel that pictures make the world a better place or change the
What do you feel, as the witness of some of the worst kind of violence, that domestic violence which we've seen that goes on in so many
homes against women?
FERRATO: I've -- I believe that photographs have the power to change many things, change laws, change the minds of society, change people.
And so I feel that a photographer has to really dig in there and spend a lot of time and put more of themselves into the photographs. It's not
just about go in, take some pictures and then move away. I spend usually two or three years at a time with my subjects.
AMANPOUR: We saw that clip, where this person who you -- this couple who you were covering then turned violent and basically the man said, hey,
it's my property, it's my wife.
But there's also an amazing sound bite from this series that I want to play, where you were covering another instance and the son was -- he
intervened to defend his mother. Let's just play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mommy and daddy are having a fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he hitting her?
FERRATO (voice-over): Photography is not just visual. It's all five senses at play. It's about the smell. It's about the sound. It's about
FERRATO (voice-over): When I took that picture, I was in a dark room. I couldn't see anything. I was focusing in the dark, calculating
the distance to his voice.
When I heard him say to his dad, "I hate you for hitting my mother," they were the strongest words that I had ever heard anybody say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's pretty powerful.
What impact did that have on you?
And you also have, I think, a teenage daughter.
FERRATO: I'm actually a grandmother now, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Who would have known?
FERRATO: I started this work when I was pregnant with Fanny. So that was some 33 years ago. And now my grandson lives in the house and
everything is about this kind of work and photography.
AMANPOUR: You're trying to -- you've done a hotline, right?
FERRATO: I'd had a hotline going for many -- in my house, yes. And everybody who was living in the home was part of that reception, for women
who were calling all over the world.
I know that it's really hard for women to get the help and support that they need when they are in a very dangerous situation. Sometimes the
shelters are not -- they just have a recording on the line, so women are not getting the attention that they need. And so I would usually intervene
and call the shelters directly.
AMANPOUR: So it's real activism.
Tell me, though, Eros, because it's sort of two sides of the same coin, you and Donna, covering different things and with different feelings
about how they impact and what kind of effect they have.
Your father was killed. He was a war correspondent, war photographer, and you inherited his cameras. You must have inherited a mission as well.
HOAGLAND: Oh, without a doubt. I mean, I think not long after he was killed -- I was 15 years old -- I knew that that's what I needed to do.
And at that point I had a much more kind of ideological track that I was traveling on. And I think just years of doing war coverage got me a
little bit -- a little bit jaded, a little bit -- a loss of empathy and hope.
And then I kind of decided that maybe this isn't the healthiest thing for me to be doing.
AMANPOUR: And you describe in the series, you describe panic attacks. You describe, you know, at your worst, having anger outbursts.
HOAGLAND: Oh, without a doubt. And it's classic symptoms of PTSD. And it's not about one specific traumatic incident affecting you but a
culmination of everything that you've been through in the war zone. And it comes out in ways that you really don't expect.
AMANPOUR: And I wonder if people realize just how much this stuff that we all witness impacts everybody.
Obviously, some of our colleagues have been wounded, some of them have been killed covering this; you've lost friends, I've lost friends.
But I wonder if there's sort of psychological drama that goes on in the minds of the witness, is as easily understood by the people who read
and look at your pictures.
HOAGLAND: I don't think that we, as participants --
HOAGLAND: -- really understand it. And it's something that I always kind of brushed aside, you know, this idea of PTSD. And then just slowly
and slowly it would come out in all these very textbook fashions. And -- yes.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think you'll do next?
HOAGLAND: Well, presently I'm raising a child. So that's kind of a full-time job right now.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's great. That will give you something totally different to focus on.
And who knows, you may come out of that the other end, feeling differently about your work.
What about you, Donna?
You have said that you want your work to deliver a message of empowerment to women. I do want to play a little sound bite from what we
had in the series and get you to comment on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERRATO: I want women to start thinking in their own brains, I don't deserve to be beaten up -- ever. I am a woman. I am powerful. I am good.
I am strong. You can't do this to me. I am unbeatable.
You know, when I close my eyes at night, sometimes I have these really upsetting images that stick with me and replay again and again. But I've
become a lot more sensitive and excited by the light and looking for the light.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How difficult -- I mean, you know, I guess for people like us, who are strong and empowered, we would have no hesitation reporting
domestic abuse or whatever it might be.
But the number of people who you photograph and who you've witnessed being beaten up, who think it's their fault or who just simply won't stand
up for themselves.
FERRATO: Well, it's hard to stand up for themselves when society doesn't back them up, when the courts don't really understand and the
judges will always side with the abusers.
AMANPOUR: Is that really the case?
FERRATO: That's really the case. And -- but I think, why I'm so hopeful with every picture that I take is because I believe that these
stories are about breaking the cycle of abuse. And that's why I get so deeply involved with every family.
And I work with the children as well. It's everybody that I want to see changing. And I'm there with them for years and years and years. This
-- the woman, Elizabeth, I've been photographing her for 33 years. And I know all of her children very well.
AMANPOUR: So you're a little bit like a therapist, too.
FERRATO: I'm a social activist.
AMANPOUR: What do you hope this series will say to the people who watch it?
Because there are lots of photographers who are profiled and a range of different ideas about their mission and about what they think they're
doing in the world.
HOAGLAND: I think it's important to show the different points of view from different photographers. And the work is certainly different.
What Donna's doing is very different than what I have done. And I respect her work very much.
It's -- but it's a whole other ballgame. I mean, I've been working on front lines and she's, like she said, a social activist. And I think that
there's a great value in what she's doing.
AMANPOUR: What were some of the most difficult places that you worked?
HOAGLAND: I think that Iraq was probably the most difficult. Access was incredibly difficult. The threat of kidnapping was very high. It was
just -- and the heat. It was a very difficult place to work.
AMANPOUR: When we see ISIS and all the horrors that are going on now, we can barely even cover that war.
HOAGLAND: Well, we have seen what's happened to journalists who have tried. It's horrible. It's -- there's -- it's not like it used to be.
AMANPOUR: It's a different battlefield, really, for all of us.
Eros Hoagland, Donna Ferrato, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
HOAGLAND: Thank you, Christiane.
FERRATO: Thank you for having us.
AMANPOUR: And after a break, we stay behind the camera. I speak to an award-winning war photographer who spent over 30 years capturing the
humanity in conflict in some of the most dangerous and difficult circumstances. My conversation with Heidi Levine. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to our special edition as we're looking at some of the highlights of this year.
Now documenting war is what we journalists have been doing for generations and it's a reality that the American photographer Heidi Levine
knows all too well, having spent over 30 years covering conflict in the Middle East, bearing witness to the revolutions in Egypt and Libya and the
U.S. invasion of Iraq and whose powerful photos of the Gaza conflict won her the first-ever Anja Niedringhaus Award Courage in Photojournalism award
earlier this year.
Anja was also a colleague, a renowned German photographer, who was killed in an ambush in Afghanistan last year while covering the elections
there. I sat down with Heidi Levine in Berlin just before the ceremony to talk about Anja and to find out what still motivates her to face danger
AMANPOUR: Heidi, welcome to the program.
HEIDI LEVINE, PHOTOJOURNALIST: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.
AMANPOUR: It must be somewhat bittersweet to win this award for Anja Niedringhaus, given that she was killed basically in the field of battle.
How do you feel about this moment?
LEVINE: Well, as you can imagine, I'm overwhelmed with emotion. It also really makes you reflect back on your own life. But you have to
understand Anja was not just my colleague, she was my friend. And as much as I'm honored, I also, in many ways, wish that she was with us and the
circumstances were different.
AMANPOUR: I first met her in Sarajevo when she was really starting her career -- when I was sort of starting my career. But you've won this
award for the remarkable pictures that you took in Gaza during the war last year.
Tell me about the portrait of the mother. It's a really powerful image.
LEVINE: It just looked like her whole life went blank.
AMANPOUR: She looks in that portrait like she's lost everything and she doesn't understand.
LEVINE: Yes, almost like a ghost in a sense.
AMANPOUR: What do you feel you do this for?
What motivates you to go out into this danger?
LEVINE: I want to make a difference. I know that many people accuse journalists who cover conflict as being adrenalin junkies but I think our
real addiction is to wanting to make a difference.
AMANPOUR: When you saw the two boys laid out, obviously you had covered what had happened and there they were and it was their funeral,
that was a very powerful image.
What do you want people to take away from that war?
LEVINE: I want people to be able to connect my pictures. I mean, there are a lot of pictures that I photograph that will never be published
because they're too graphic.
But I still do photograph those pictures because I believe that it's important evidence, documents -- but what I really want is people to be
able to look and not turn away, you know.
I once got a phone call from a woman in Hawaii who saw the cover of an Iraqi girl, a refugee girl that I photographed in Jordan and it appeared on
the cover of "Amnesty International." And this woman made the effort to find my phone number.
She called me and said, "This child really reminds me of my granddaughter and I want to help. So you tell me how I can send money to
AMANPOUR: What about, then, what people say about journalists, you know, not getting too close to the story, not getting too involved?
Is that even possible when you, when we see the horrors that we see?
LEVINE: You know, I know that some of my colleagues, maybe other people may feel that I'm a bit too emotional but I think I'm human.
Like in Gaza, when a --
LEVINE: -- young child was brought into the hospital, who had been wounded, and he was even more hysterical because he had been separated from
his family, I put my camera down and I held his hand and I tried to calm him down so that the doctors could even examine him and find out how they
could treat him.
And you know what?
That could be my kid, having -- like how could you not do that?
AMANPOUR: You have three kids.
How does being a mother affect what you do?
And we all have that dilemma as we go into these very dangerous zones.
How specifically has it affected you?
LEVINE: I know that my children have often felt that the conflict has stolen their mother away from them and there are times that I have felt
that I haven't been the best mother or -- and at times I haven't been the best photographer because I have to choose and sometimes compromise and
it's not the right time, especially, to go into a dangerous situation and stress my children out even more when they're taking final exams or -- but
they're very supportive and very proud and I think I also taught them a lot. And you know, but it's technology; it's also not very easy.
My kids have even called me in the middle of a gun battle to ask me how to make spaghetti when they were young. Now I -- the situation is, I
think, even harder because, now that they're older, they're more aware and they're more scared. When I went to Syria, my son told me, OK. I'll
support you emotionally to go to Syria. However, you have two weeks.
And my daughter was also supposed to get married that year. And she said I'll just -- you can't get killed and miss my wedding. And you know,
I think I held myself back and I didn't push the same way as I did when I was in Libya because wherever I go, you know, my kids are with me.
And I think actually they're a great force behind me because why am I doing this?
I want their generation to have the possibility to live in peace.
AMANPOUR: Some of the other photographs that won you this courage award is this amazing picture of these boys, rushing through this
devastated landscape, obviously trying to get away from another explosion.
And then this picture of the young girl with shrapnel all over her face, we see that. We see what you're able to document on a very human
level. And I wonder what you think of the fact that we can't really show that in Syria because of ISIS, because the government won't let us in.
What do you think is the impact of the fact that we're not there in Syria?
LEVINE: It's frustrating that we are -- we're not able to be there. We're not able to impact an audience. We're not able to make people --
make governments react and put an end to this.
AMANPOUR: Is there anything that gives you hope and makes you optimistic?
LEVINE: Absolutely, because if I didn't have any hope, I wouldn't be able to do what I do. There is this resilience. The -- Rawya, the girl in
one of my winning photographs, her whole face was wounded with shrapnel and I just went back to her about -- less than -- about 10 days ago because I
really wanted to see how she is now.
And her -- you know, by surprise, her face looks beautiful and those scars and wounds have healed. But the memories of the war haven't. So,
yes, somehow I do believe I know.
AMANPOUR: Heidi Levine, thank you very much.
LEVINE: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Next: they could be tomorrow's Pulitzer Prize winners. We give the professionals a break and we imagine a world through the lens of
Syrian refugees, children, after this.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world through the eyes of Syrian refugees. Five years into the country's civil war, more than a
million Syrians are currently residing in the refugee camp in Lebanon alone. About half of them are children, deprived of so much, fun being the
But a year-long project by a Lebanese NGO, Zakira, and UNICEF has shed remarkable insight into the country's refugee crisis and it's brought back
a little fun, too, by giving 500 children disposable cameras and the chance to take just any pictures. Their subjects are telling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): The picture is taken.
My name is Hiba. I am 9 years old.
(Speaking foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can now always listen to our show as a podcast or see it online at
Amanpour.com. Follow me, of course, on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching. And good-bye from London.