The American photographer James Nachtwey has won this year’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanitites.
Presenting the prize at a ceremony at Oviedo, the jury president, Víctor García de la Concha said “his professional commitment has led him to cover thirty war-like conflicts and humanitarian crises without abdicating the ethical principles of the reporter or disguising the opinion of the camera.”
Although Nachtwey has, in his own words, spent much of his life avoiding the limelight, the prize is a deserved reward for a man considered by some to be the greatest war photographer of recent decades.
He started on the streets of Belfast where he was sent in 1981 to cover the hunger strike of IRA militant Bobby Sands. Since then he has reported on major social issues in more than 30 countries, devoting himself to documenting conflicts from El Salvador to Sri Lanka, and from Romania to Rwanda to name but a few.