James Nachtwey has spent his life documenting some of the most pressing conflicts, wars and critical social issues of our time, but today takes on the comparatively safe task of guest editing the YouTube homepage. Since his first assignment covering the troubles in Northern Ireland in 1981 – at the height of the IRA hunger strikes -- he has traveled from the West Bank to Rwanda and from Bosnia to Afghanistan, raising awareness of the human impact of the situations he encountered in the click of a shutter.
In 2007, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to society, Nachtwey was awarded the TED Prize: $100,000 to realize 'one wish' to change the world. He opted to "break a story that the world needs to know about in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age." Following this he spent 18 months documenting the ramifications and rapid spread of "extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis" (XDR-TB). Learn more about his undertaking here:
For more on why the photographer chose to launch a global awareness campaign about TB, see his special message to the YouTube community:
As today's guest editor, Nachtwey has selected compelling examples from other YouTube users that exhibit the power of film to relate a story and spread the word. These YouTube users -- by turning their cameras on subjects like the conflict in Africa, thehuman rights violations in Myanmar, and the HIV crisis in rural America -- are following Nachtwey's lead and, ultimately, are changing the world through the force of their efforts and film-making expertise.
Here's to them – and making wishes come true,