Chris Anderson

Frontline Photographer

Dec 1, 2004
Outside Magazine
Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson

American Chris Anderson didn't set out to become a war photographer. "It chose me. I didn't choose it," he says of his recent status as the intrepid shooter on every photo editor's short list. At the relatively young age of 34, he has all the trappings of a grizzled photojournalist: an assortment of dented and dust-clogged rangefinder cameras; barely lived-in apartments in Paris and New York; a prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal, awarded by the Overseas Press Club for exceptional courage and enterprise; and a passport bloated with stamps from conflict-torn hot spots in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel. In truth, when Anderson signed on with U.S. News & World Report to spend three months covering the war in Afghanistan—and, 16 months later, with The New York Times Magazine to cover the war in Iraq—all he really desired was to see how people live their lives and to capture moments of human drama by "shooting stories at eye level," as he calls his brand of experiential photography. "Chris is the embodiment of the creative spirit: restless, searching, always moving on," says legendary photojournalist James Nachtwey, 56. "He wants to know how things look out of the corner of his eye, on the dead run." Such was the case on April 7, 2003, two days before Baghdad fell, when Anderson was riding with an armored column through the center of the city, the only journalist to do so. He survived a direct RPG hit on his vehicle and, despite nearly losing an eye to shrapnel, joined a similar mission two days later. "People are usually shocked that I enjoy my job as much as I do," he admits. "But with all the strife and chaos going on around me, as sick as it sounds, it's an absolute adventure."

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