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James Nachtwey: 30 Years in TIME

To celebrate James Nachtwey’s 30 years as a contract photographer for TIME, we have organized an exhibit of 54 layouts that have appeared in the magazine featuring his work from Chechnya to Somalia and from Afghanistan to Burma, along with a series of his powerful, previously unpublished photographs. Below, James Nachtwey, and TIME’s Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs, reflect on the relationship between photographer and publication.

Any worthwhile, long-term relationship is built on integrity, trust, caring and a common purpose, and those are the elements that have characterized my 30-year relationship with TIME. Working in the field in difficult circumstances, there are many things to be concerned about, from logistics to survival, but the ultimate goal is to get the story right. Knowing that the people who publish the pictures are just as motivated by that as I am means everything. Every image on these walls is the result of teamwork. I happened to be the point man, but the support, guidance and inspiration I have received for so many years have made this work possible, and I want to thank all my colleagues at TIME from the bottom of my heart. — James Nachtwey

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TIME’s exhibition at Photoville.

James Nachtwey has spent his life in the places people most want to avoid: war zones and refugee camps, the city flattened by an earthquake or a terrorist attack, the village swallowed by a flood. A Massachusetts native and graduate of Dartmouth, Jim worked in the merchant marine and as a truck driver while he taught himself photography. His assignments for TIME, where he is in his 30th year, have taken him around the world multiple times. There is a particular art to capturing the places where pain presides. Pain is the most private experience, but its causes demand public accounting. It’s exactly when you want to look the other way that Jim’s images bring you back, command attention and invite understanding. — Nancy Gibbs

James Nachtwey: 30 Years in TIME runs from September 18 to 28, 2014 and is part of Photoville, an outdoor photography exhibition in Brooklyn, New York.

James Nachtwey is a TIME contract photographer, documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. Nancy Gibbs is Managing Editor of TIME.

TIME bosnia

Bosnia Finds World War I Centennial Divides Instead of Uniting

The legacy of war is still all too present in the Balkans

Hundreds will gather in front of the Sarajevo City Hall in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday evening to listen to a Vienna Philharmonic concert commemorating a historic event that unfolded only a few miles away, 100 years earlier: Gavrilo Princip’s assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, widely credited with lighting the fuse on World War I. The Hall is the last site the Archduke visited before Princip shot him and his wife. Now, a century later, the Bosnian capital is gathering together regional leaders and dignitaries to contemplate—and draw lessons from—the continent’s tumultuous past.

But anyone looking through the audience on Saturday will find several missing faces, including those of the President of Serbia, the Serbian Prime Minister, and the President of Bosnia’s Serb entity Republika Srpska. The Serb leaders view the commemorative events in Sarajevo not as acts of reconciliation, but as part of a political maneuver to blame the Serbian people for both World War I and the Bosnian War of the 1990s—and are boycotting them as a result.

The site chosen to host the Saturday concert, the City Hall that reopened in May after an 18-year-long restoration, is at the center of the current feud. The building was shelled during the Sarajevo siege of 1992, a defining event in the war between Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks—a secular term for the ethnic group once known simply as Muslims—that claimed 100,000 lives, many of them Bosniak. The renovated building carries an inscription reminding visitors that “Serbian criminals” were responsible for its destruction. “Do not forget,” the sign says. “Remember and warn!”

Nebojsa Radmanovic, the Serbian member of the country’s tripartite presidency, tells TIME he thinks the event organizers from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina—one of the two political entities that comprise the country, the other being Serb-dominated Republika Srpska—are attempting to “attribute the responsibility for the beginning of the World War I and the recent wars in the former Yugoslavia to the Serb side.” Other Serbian politicians say they would never have agreed to take part in a commemoration that portrays their people as aggressors. “This concept and organization of the event has not been consented [to] by all three members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Radmanovic says.

Current Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak member of the presidency, has rejected claims that the commemorative events are being fueled by an anti-Serbian rhetoric. “No one is aiming to ascertain history and accuse the doers of the assassinations, especially not an entire group of people,” he told local media. “We will try to round off 100 years of conflicts and derive a lesson from this century of war.”

But what lesson might that be? To this day, Gavrilo Princip’s legacy remains a divisive force in the region. Among many Serbs, Princip is celebrated as a freedom fighter who considered Bosnia a part of the Serb national territory, the same nationalist ideal that prompted the Serbs to fight the Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosnians in ’92 when the latter wanted the country to separate from Yugoslavia. “In Serbian nationalism, [Princip] is a hero, a freedom fighter,” says Aleksandar Hemon, a Sarajevo-born Bosnian-American author who moved to the U.S. at the outset of the Bosnian War. “In Bosnia, he is a terrorist.”

Princip was celebrated as a liberator in the Yugoslav period, but such honors have since been withdrawn in Sarajevo, says Ivo Banac, a Croatian historian who has written extensively about the former Yugoslavia. The steps commemorating the exact spot from which Princip shot the Archduke were a major tourist attraction in the Yugoslav era, but were removed in 1992, and the plaque that once said Princip defied tyranny was eventually replaced with a more neutral one. Serbs in Bosnia are now attempting to rectify this with a portfolio of centennial-related events unrelated to the ones in Sarajevo, including an unveiling today of a statue of Princip in East Sarajevo, a settlement to the east of the capital located in Republika Srpska.

With the 1990s war still a living presence to most Bosnians, it was perhaps unrealistic to expect the country to unite around a memorial to an older conflict, Banac says. “The memory of these events has by no means been put aside,” he explains. “I don’t see any of this as particularly healing in the context of ongoing difficulties in Bosnia.” While the rest of Europe can claim to have learned from a century marred by war, in the Balkans, the legacy of war is still being questioned, renegotiated, and disputed. “There aren’t too many neutrals on these things” in Bosnia, Banac says.

So when the Vienna Philharmonic begins tuning up on Saturday night, who will be listening? Hemon, who was in Bosnia last week, says locals know a spectacle is in store, but adds with a laugh that many Bosnians have recently been more interested in the World Cup, in which the country’s soccer team made its first-ever appearance this year. To most citizens, he says, the current tensions are only an addition to the “run-of-the-mill” disputes that have been present in the country ever since the Dayton Agreement ended the Bosnian War in 1995. “It’s like the same dance,” he says, “the same choreography, over and over again.”

TIME Serbia floods

Satellite Images Show Serbian Town Underwater after Floods

The town of Obrenovac, in northwest Serbia, was among the worst hit by historic floods that wreaked havoc across the Balkans. The flooding killed at least 40 people, including 14 in Obrenovac

The town of Obrenovac in northwest Serbia was largely submerged in flooding that wreaked havoc across the Balkans last week. The town was evacuated, but at least 14 people were killed and entire portions of the town were destroyed.

The historic flooding–more rain fell in three days than normally falls in a month–killed at least 40 people in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia and caused more than a billion dollars in damages. On Tuesday, Serbia declared three days of national mourning. In Bosnia, where a day of mourning was also held on Tuesday, the government says more than 1 million people — a quarter of the neighboring nation’s entire population — were affected by the flooding and landslides.

The satellite photos of Obrenovac, provided by Digital Globe, Google, CNES, and Astrium, may be even more explicit than the numbers. The rooftops of homes can be seen poking out above the floodwaters; entire fields disappear under the murky water; and roads lead into newly formed lakes.

TIME Serbia

Thousands Flee Deadly Floods in Serbia and Bosnia

TOPSHOTS-SERBIA-BOSNIA-WEATHER-FLOOD
Sasa Djordjevic—AFP/Getty Images A Serbian rescue worker carries an elderly woman out of her flooded house in the Serbian village of Obrez on May 17, 2014

Floods have killed at least 44 people and caused some 10,000 to evacuate from the affected areas, while some towns have been completely cut off following the region's heaviest rainfall since the late 19th century

Thousands of people have fled their homes in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as massive floods fueled by record rainfall have already killed at least 44 people, officials say, and as residents have been warned about land mines exposed by mudslides.

Approximately 10,000 people have been evacuated from the affected areas, while some towns have been completely cut off by the deluge that hit the region’s Sava River, Agence France-Presse reports.

“We sent rescue teams into a part of the city we had not been able to access so far. They are entering those areas fearing what they might discover,” said Samo Minic, the mayor of the Bosnian town of Samac.

One rescue worker who spent two days trying to reach the Serbian village of Krupanj described the floods as looking “like a tsunami and earthquake occurred at once.”

“We found some 50 people gathered in the highest house,” Nedeljko Brankovic said. “They had neither electricity nor drinking water. Telephones did not work. We evacuated them 10 by 10 in a huge boat.”

Twenty-seven deaths have been reported in Bosnia, 16 reported in Serbia and one reported in Croatia. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he expected the death toll to rise.

In addition to the floods, the rainfall led to destructive landslides and warnings that residents should beware of exposed landmines first buried during fighting and warfare in the 1990s.

[AFP]

TIME closeup

Pictures of the Week: July 5 – July 12

From violent protests in Egypt and the start of the holy month of Ramadan to a driverless oil-tanker train explosion in Quebec and the running of the bulls in Spain, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

From violent protests in Egypt and the start of the holy month of Ramadan to a driverless oil-tanker train explosion in Quebec and the running of the bulls in Spain, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME closeup

Pictures of the Week: June 1 – June 8

From the final journey of the space shuttle Enterprise in New York and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London to a landmark trial in Egypt and the once-in-a-lifetime Transit of Venus, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

From the final journey of the space shuttle Enterprise in New York and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London to a landmark trial in Egypt and the once-in-a-lifetime Transit of Venus, TIME’s photo department presents the best images of the week.

TIME Out There

20 Years Later: The Bosnian Conflict in Photographs

If the last lines of the 20th century were written in Moscow in December 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the prelude to the 21st century was written months later—and 20 years ago this month—in Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo.

The photographs in the gallery above are from the book Bosnia 1992 – 1995, available July 2012. The book will be self-published by the photographers who covered the Bosnian conflict—which began 20 years ago today—and printed in Bosnia. The captions below these photographs are the personal reflections of the photographers on their experiences in the region.

If the last lines of the 20th century were written in Moscow in December 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the prelude to the 21st century was written months later—and 20 years ago this month—in Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, as the disorderly break-up of Yugoslavia turned into genocide. In that bloody April, America’s moment of triumph over totalitarianism was transformed into a tribalist nightmare as Bosnian Serbs, determined to seize large parts of Bosnia as part of a plan to create a Greater Serbia, targeted Muslims for extermination. What some at the time hoped was just a communist death-rattle at the periphery of the Soviet empire, now looks like the birth cries of our current geopolitical reality.

In Bosnia the U.S. learned it would preside over a world where borders and ideology mattered less and transnational allegiances of ethnicity and sectarianism mattered more. Interviewed by TIME in August 1995, weeks after his troops had slaughtered more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys near the town of Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, now on trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague, declared he was acting out of fear of a new Islamic push through the Balkans to Europe. “By this demographic explosion Muslims are overflowing not only the cradle of Christianity in the Balkans but have left their tracks even in the Pyrenees,” Mladic said.

As the slaughter unfolded in Bosnia, and Europe and the U.S. belatedly mustered the will to stop it, Western attitudes towards the post-Cold War world took shape, as well. Neoconservatives and hawkish Democrats found common cause in humanitarian intervention. The media and the public learned from the NATO action in August and September 1995 and the Dayton peace agreement in November that American military might could impose stability—for a time. But 20 years later, with international military and police forces still keeping the peace in Bosnia, we have found there—and at much greater cost elsewhere—that an initially successful intervention by America’s unmatched armed forces cannot impose sectarian comity.

Massimo Calabresi covered the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo as TIME’s Central Europe bureau chief from 1995 to 1999.

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