Visualising War

Capturing Conflict on Camera with Hugh Kinsella Cunningham

May 05, 2021 The University of St Andrews Season 1 Episode 5
Visualising War
Capturing Conflict on Camera with Hugh Kinsella Cunningham
Show Notes

In this week's episode, Alice and Nicolas interview photojournalist Hugh Kinsella Cunningham. Hugh has spent the past two years documenting humanitarian crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He explains some of the logistical challenges which conflict photographers face and how conflict photography has changed in recent decades. Hugh is passionate about making forgotten or unseen conflicts more visible, and he wants the images he produces to raise awareness, engage people and inspire them to lobby for change. That got us talking about how visuals representations of war can encourage people to question and care rather than turn away or switch off. While some conflict photography focuses on armoured vehicles, ruined buildings and victims of violence, Hugh’s work paints a much broader picture, capturing the many ways in which war and other societal experiences overlap. 

Among other questions, we asked Hugh:

  • what drew him to conflict photography in the first place, and what styles of conflict photography have inspired him in the past
  • what media outlets and their viewers want or expect from conflict photography
  • why NGOs and aid organisations increasing engage photojournalists to document conflict, and what kinds of images they want to capture
  • what Hugh himself is trying to capture and communicate in the creative and sensitive images of conflict that he produces
  • what social and political impact conflict photography can have

We hope you enjoy the episode!

For a version of our podcast with close captions, please use this link. If you would like to see the images discussed in this podcast, you can find bonus material on our project blog.  You can also follow Hugh on Instagram and find out more about his work on his website.

For more information about individuals and their projects, access to resources and more, please have a look on the University of St Andrews Visualising War website

Music composed by Jonathan Young
 Sound mixing by Zofia Guertin