Swiss photographer / artist and VII Photos member Daniel Schwartz on using assignments to pursue personal projects, travelling the Great Wall of China, climate change, travels in central Asia and documenting the rapid melting of the world’s glaciers.
Daniel Schwartz concentrates on book projects with exhibitions, based on extensive travels, photographic essays, and reportages covering the Eastern Hemisphere from Iran to East Timor and from Turkmenistan to Bangladesh. Daniel’s art, as he puts it, is in the history of places and his journalism rather than being a reaction to events, builds on memory. His method is perhaps best expressed in Travelling through the Eye of History (published, in 2009, like all his books, by Thames & Hudson), a pre- and post-9/11 observation covering Central Asia including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir.
In 1987 to 1988, during a forbidden journey, Daniel became the first foreigner and photographer to travel along all sections of the Great Wall of China.
His documentation of the habitats of South and Southeast Asia's deltas, endangered by the consequences of climate change, were an early photojournalistic investigation into that subject, celebrated by the Financial Times as a visual j’accuse and made him twice a finalist of the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. He continues to work on the subject of climate change for While the Fires Burn: A Glacier Odyssey, his exploration of the recession of the world’s glaciers.
In episode 088, Daniel discusses, among other things:
“We need to listen. First of all we need to go, see for ourself, and
then obviously we meet people and we have to listen to them. We should
forget about our pre-concepts which we carry. We inform ourselves at
home and then we forget what we have read, and we go there. And this
will eventually change or modify the concepts we have, and we need to
listen to what people have to say to us and to find a way of building
their information into the way we see things.”