• U.S.

From the Publisher: Jul 31 1989

2 minute read
Robert L. Miller

It may be summer in the high Himalayas, but photographer Robert Nickelsberg borrowed a heavy-duty arctic snowsuit to cover this week’s story on war on the Siachen Glacier between India and Pakistan. Just as well: he was stranded by a blizzard at a military camp 17,400 ft. up. Later, during an artillery exchange, Nickelsberg tried to dash to a better position only to discover that the thin air made it “nearly impossible to run.” The rigors behind him, Nickelsberg sent back the first combat pictures seen in the West of this little-known conflict.

Such effort is frequently the norm for our photographers, as major picture essays appear in the magazine almost every week. Some assignments are long planned, then take on special urgency after they get under way. When TIME’s White House photographer Diana Walker began shooting for her May 22 essay on a day in the life of the President, she had no idea that George Bush would be facing a foreign policy crisis over Panama. Busy as he was, the President still went out of his way to ask, “How can I help make your job easier today?” Chimed in White House photographer David Valdez: “Just pretend she isn’t here.”

When Hong Kong photographer Robin Moyer went to Beijing in mid-May, it was for what he considered a “simple assignment”: to cover the visit of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Very quickly, says Moyer, “it became obvious that the story was the cry for democracy in Tiananmen.” His assignment stretched into weeks, until the fatal night of the military crackdown. “No picture is worth risking your life for,” says Moyer, “but at night everyone just went out, snapping away, oblivious to the dangers.”

That kind of enterprise has brought TIME shooters a raft of awards this year, including top honors in photojournalism’s three major competitions: the University of Missouri Magazine Photographer of the Year, the Overseas Press Club’s Robert Capa Gold Medal and the World Press Photo’s Oskar Barnack Award.

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