STANLEY GREENE, TELLER OF UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS
Stanley Greene, whose visceral and brutally honest images of conflict and his fearlessness in the most perilous of places made him one of the leading war photographers of his generation, died on Friday in Paris. He was 68.
A founding member of the photographer-owned agency Noor Images, Mr. Greene, who lived in Paris, had been treated for liver cancer for several years, associates said.
Mr. Greene was one of the few African-American photographers who worked internationally. He traveled widely, making powerful images of conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the republics of Chechnya and Georgia, among other places. Some pictures were too raw for many publications.
“You want to sit there comfortably with your newspaper and blueberry muffin, and you don’t want to see pictures that are going to upset your morning,” Mr. Greene said in a 2010 interview with the Lens blog of The New York Times. “That is the job of a journalist, to upset your morning.”
Mr. Greene’s commitment to telling the unvarnished truth extended to his assessments of the ethical questions facing photojournalism. He railed against the use of computer programs like Photoshop to alter the scenes of news images, a practice that he said turned photos into “cartoons.” And he scorned photographers who staged images in an attempt to recreate a missed moment after arriving late to a news scene.
“We have to be ambassadors of the truth,” he told Lens in 2015. “We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, because the public no longer trusts the media. We are considered merchants of misery and therefore get a bad rap.”
Mr. Greene had once aspired to be a painter, like Matisse, or a musician, like Jimi Hendrix, but he discovered his true instrument the first time he picked up a camera, he told Michael Kamber in the 2010 Lens interview. Mr. Kamber, a former conflict photographer himself and the author of “Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories From Iraq,” compared Mr. Greene to a jazz musician.
“Stanley is like the Charles Mingus of photography,” Mr. Kamber, the founder of the Bronx Documentary Center, said in an interview this week. “Stanley is about his heart, his emotions and his feelings. His photos are very impressionistic, like a stream of consciousness.”
The younger Mr. Greene had a “somewhat privileged yet traumatic childhood,” said his longtime friend Jules Allen. “There was a loneliness there that was insatiable, but he was blessed enough to at least partially deal with his pain through photography.”
As a teenager, Mr. Greene joined the Black Panthers and was active in the antiwar movement. His dreams of becoming a painter gave way to photography, and he was encouraged in that pursuit by the renowned photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.
In the 1970s, Mr. Allen and Mr. Greene shared a darkroom and a studio in San Francisco while Mr. Greene studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. Some of his early work was published in “The Western Front,” a book that chronicled the city’s punk music scene in the 1970s and ’80s.
Mr. Greene worked as a fashion photographer in the 1980s and moved to Paris, where he later joined the Vu photo agency. He worked extensively in Africa and the former Soviet Union. He was the only Western photographer in Russia’s White House in 1993 during an attempted coup against the president, Boris Yeltsin. Trapped inside, amid shelling and gunfire, Mr. Greene continued to photograph throughout the building, capturing two images that received World Press Photo awards.
“Though I’m bombarded by young photographers who ask me how to become a conflict photographer, I tell them, ‘Get a life,’” he wrote in “Black Passport.” “If they persist, I tell them about the consequences. I tell them there is no glory.”
At the end of “Black Passport,” Mr. Greene reflected on the centrality of storytelling to the human experience. Wars are fought, he said, because people have different views of the same story.
“Photography is my language and it gives me the power to tell what otherwise is not told,” he said. “Eugene Smith told me vision is a gift, and you have to give something back. He haunts me like that. It’s not the bang-bang that compels me. It never was. At the end of the day it is not about death, it is about life.
“The quest is to try to understand why human beings behave the way they do,” he continued. “The question is, How does this happen? And sometimes, the only way to find out is to go to where it is happening. One day the neighbors are talking to each other over the fence, and the next they are shooting at each other. Why is it that we don’t consider life precious, and instead we literally let it drip through our fingers?”
IAN BRADY, UNREPENTANT KILLER OF BRITISH CHILDREN
LONDON — Ian Brady, whose murders of five children in the company of his lover horrified Britons and were viewed by generations as the distillate of evil, died on Monday night at a high-security psychiatric hospital in Liverpool, England. He was 79.
Julie Crompton, a spokeswoman for the facility, Ashworth Hospital, confirmed his death there. No cause was given. The Associated Press reported that at a court hearing in February, lawyers said Mr. Brady had been bedridden for the last couple of years and that it was “fair to say” he was terminally ill with emphysema and other ailments.
His accomplice, Myra Hindley, died at 60 in a hospital in November 2002. Despite appeals for parole, she was never released from prison.
Mr. Brady, who went on a hunger strike in 1999 and was force-fed on the orders of judges who had ruled him mentally ill, never expressed remorse for the killings, some of them involving beatings, torture and sexual abuse. He had been held at the psychiatric hospital since 1985.
Jailed for life in 1966, the couple were known as the Moors Murderers, a headline writers’ sobriquet derived from their practice of burying their victims on Saddleworth Moor, a remote and hilly area near Manchester, in northwest England. The BBC once called them “British society’s benchmark for evil.”
At the time of their arrest, in 1965, only three bodies had been found. One murder in particular, that of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey, evoked rage and revulsion when it was discovered that the killers had made a tape-recording of her pleading for her life and photographed her naked, bound and gagged. Her body was found in a shallow grave with her clothes at her feet. The recording was played in court.
The pair preyed on unaccompanied young people from July 1963 to October 1965, abducting them near a dance hall, from an open market and from a fairground. Their trial judge, Fenton Atkinson, described Mr. Brady as “wicked beyond belief, without hope of redemption.”
Addressing readers in the book, Mr. Brady wrote: “You will presently discover that this work is not an apologia. Why should it? To whom should I apologize, and what difference would it make to anyone? You contain me till death in a concrete box that measures only eight by ten and you expect remorse as well? Remorse is a purely personal matter, not a circus performance.”
While he initially went by the surname Stewart, he changed it to Brady when he moved from Scotland to Manchester to live with his mother and a stepfather, Patrick Brady. As a child he was described by teachers as having above-average intelligence but as lazy and prone to misbehavior.
His teenage years were marked by a series of brushes with the law on charges of house breaking and burglary, leading to his detention both in prison and in young offenders’ facilities. There he developed a close and abiding interest in the works of Hitler and the Marquis de Sade.
Mr. Brady and Ms. Hindley met when they were both working at a small chemicals company in Manchester, she as a typist and he as a stock clerk. Ms. Hindley later depicted herself as having been in thrall to Mr. Brady, who, she said after they were sentenced, had beaten and blackmailed her.
Writing from prison in 2000, he disputed that version of their relationship. “Myra is a chameleon, who simply reflects whatever she believes will please the person she is addressing,” he wrote in a letter to Liverpool-based journalists, after seeing a BBC program in which Ms. Hindley said she had been “overwhelmed by Brady’s powerful personality.”
“She can kill in cold blood or rage,” Mr. Brady said. “In that respect we were an inexorable force.”
At trial, they claimed innocence. Mr. Brady was found guilty of killing John Kilbride, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. Ms. Hindley was found guilty of murdering Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. She was also convicted of sheltering Mr. Brady after the killing of John Kilbride.
The couple later confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade, whose body was found on Saddleworth Moor, and Keith Bennett, 12, whose remains have never been found; Mr. Brady ignored calls by the boy’s family to reveal where the body was buried.