Argentine-born photojournalist Walter Astrada has specialised in distressing causes that nobody else would cover driven by his desire to make a difference through his photography. Interview by Dave Tacon.
Walter Astrada is no stranger to brutality. Over the last four years the Argentineborn photojournalist has won worldwide recognition for confronting images of violence in its many forms, although he is not specifically a combat photographer.
In fact, his work is often so disturbing he has struggled to find a mainstream audience. When he was awarded a World Press Photo first prize in 2007 for a single shot of Femicide In Guatemala, no publication had yet shown his graphic images of the endemic abuse and murder of women in the Central American nation. Since then, he has won two more World Press Photo Awards for Spot News for his coverage of Kenya’s post-election violence in 2009 and his series Bloodbath In Madagascar in 2010. He was also awarded Photojournalist Of The Year 2009 in by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) in the USA. ProPhoto spoke with Walter Astrada at last year’s Visa pour l’image festival in Perpignan, France. He talked about his brushes with death in Madagascar, his life as a wire photographer, his rise to the forefront of his profession and his personal projects.
Caught In The Crossfire
Walter Astrada cuts a rather unassuming figure for someone who shines a light on so many of the darkest aspects of human nature. He is slight of build and quietly spoken. He was in Perpignan to discuss his exhibition, Bloodbath In Madagascar, which later in the year won him his third World Press Photo Awards first prize.