Photographs and Words

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Michael Katakis has spent his life travelling with a camera and writing a journal. This is the resulting book. For the past 25 years he has collaborated with the social anthropologist Kris Hardin in work spanning continents and cultures. Their initial project was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, photographing and interviewing veterans and civilians alike, the result of which was a moving portrait of America's strengths, sacrifices and errors during a profoundly divisive time in the nation's history. A different and disturbing portrait of the country emerges in 'Troubled Land: Twelve Days Across America' where Michael Katakis sought to have a dialogue with ordinary people right after September 11 2001. In between these projects were two periods of fieldwork in Sierra Leone documenting the people of a village before their bloody civil war began. His fine photographs were given an added, unintended significance by the awful events that followed. From Michael Palin's Introduction: 'Michael Katakis is an indefatigable traveller. Driven by a restless curiosity and a belief in the importance of the individual against the system he puts his humane and enquiring ear to the ground and picks up signals that are salutary, precise and stimulating. His thoughtful words and pictures confer dignity and provoke indignation in equal measure. He guides our eye and our conscience without ever having to resort to hustle or harangue. There is a peacefulness at the heart of his work which gives us time to think.'