What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time

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Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2008 - Photography - 335 pages
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For more than a century, photography has revealed truths, exposed lies, advanced the public discourse, and inspired people to demand change. Socially conscious pioneers with cameras transformed the world--and that legacy lives on in this eye-opening, thought-provoking, and (we hope) action-inducing book. Like Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and Jonathan Schell’s The Fate of the Earth before it, we believe that What Matters will fundamentally alter the way we see and understand the human race and our planet.
What Matters asks: What are the essential issues of our time? What are the pictures that will spark public outrage and spur reform? The answer appears in 18 powerful, page-turning stories by the foremost photojournalists of our age, edited by The New York Times best-selling author/editor David Elliot Cohen (A Day in the Life and America 24/7 series), and featuring trenchant commentary from well-recognized experts and thinkers in appropriate fields. Photographer Gary Braasch and climate-change guru Bill McKibben provide "A Global Warming Travelogue” that takes us from ice caves in Antarctica to smoke-spewing coal plants in Beijing. Brent Stirton and Peter A. Glick examine a "Thirsty World,” chronicling the daily search for clean water in non-developed countries. James Nachtwey and bestselling poverty expert Jeffrey D. Sachs look at the causes of, and cures for, global poverty in "The Bottom Billion.” Stephanie Sinclair and Judith Bruce present the preteen brides of Afghanistan, Nepal, and Ethiopia.
Sometimes the juxtaposition of photographs can be startling: "Shop 'til We Drop,” Lauren Greenfield’s images of upscale consumer culture, starkly contrast with Shehzad Noorani’s "Children of the Black Dust”--child laborers in Bangladesh, their faces blackened with carbon dust from recycled batteries.
The combination of compelling photographs and insightful writing make this a highly relevant, widely discussed book bound to appeal to anyone concerned about the crucial issues shaping our world. What Matters is, in effect, a 336-page illustrated letter to the next American president about the issues that count. It will inspire readers to do their part--however small--to make a difference: to help, the volume includes extensive "What You Can Do” sections with a menu of web links and effective actions readers can take now. This year give What Matters.

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What Matters: The World's Preeminent Photojournalists and Thinkers Depict Essential Issues of Our Time

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Those doubting the power of photojournalism to sway opinion and encourage action would do well to spend some time with this book. In 18 stories, each made up of photos by leading photojournalists and ... Read full review

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Each of the topical chapters is exquisitely illustrated and narrated by the best photographers and writers of our time. The introduction by David Elliot Cohen eloquently narrates the history and importance of photojournalism and his premise that images will be the factor that inspires people to change is prescient in the growing online news and education community. I bought a classroom set of these nooks because it allows students a quick and powerful overview of topics ranging from water resources, climate change, child labor, global jihad and mass migration to consumerism. My students engage enthusiastically with written and illustrated pages that inspire them to act upon what they learn and share theit insights with others to continue to inspire change for a better world. 


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About the author (2008)

DAVID ELLIOT COHEN is co-creator of the renowned Day in the Life and America 24/7 series of photojournalism books. Four of these volumes were New York Times bestsellers. Several others were national and international bestsellers. A graduate of Yale University, Cohen has appeared on most major US news programs. His award-winning books have been featured on the covers of Time and Newsweek, in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today among many other periodicals worldwide. His pro bono books have benefited victims of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, AIDs education programs in Africa and most recently, AIDS orphans in Uganda.

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