Face Of The Day


David Furst and James Estrin interview Getty Images' John Moore on photographing those under Afghan and American custody:

Guantánamo is the most difficult place to work as a photojournalist. The rules we have to obey; the restrictions, the documents we have to sign. Not only can we not show the detainees’ faces, we cannot show the guards’ faces.

Also, the military censors the work of photojournalists in the detention camps. At the end of the day, you take your discs from your camera. A military or civilian censor looks through every single picture on your disc and deletes photos that they consider a security risk. And oftentimes pictures are cut in a very subjective way. For instance, if you showed not just a beard but a little of his chin they’d cut that out. ...

At one of the open-air camps, one of the detainees saw me with my camera and waved at me. I greeted him by saying, “Salaam aleikum,” which is how you say hello in Arabic. It literally means, “Peace be upon you.”

My military escort, a young sailor, lodged a complaint that I had been communicating with the detainees. It went up the chain of command. The Pentagon issued a formal complaint against me and Getty Images, asking for my side of the story. Once they received my written response that I was just answering a greeting, I was cleared of any wrongdoing and told I was welcome to come back.

(Image: Convicted insurgent Mohammed Ullah, age 50, stands in the Pul-e-Charkhi prison October 16, 2008 near Kabul, Afghanistan. Ullah, who said he fought the Americans in Afghanistan's Lagman province as a member of Hizbul Islami, is serving a 7 year sentence in the prison. By John Moore/Getty Images)