martin_280Martin Adler lived for his work, so much so that it became inseperable from his life. A documentarian who worked with film and stills, Adler’s life was cut short while on assignment in Somalia in 2006. The War Reporter is a sensitive homage to a dedicated and professional journalist, produced by some of his closest friends.

Adler’s CV reads liks a list of the world’s most undesireable places – and places experiencing their most violent and chaotic periods. His approach to documenting war was unlike most others, and a practice that was decorated with many prestigious awrds. One such film, On Patrol with Charlie Company (2004), which won a Rory Peck Award, is a look at the sickening injustices of the Iraq war. Adler managed to be an embed with US forces yet still expose their ignorance of situations and abuse of human rights, more or less with their complicity. The War Reporter opens with a clip from Charlie Company in which we uneasily watch a supposed insurgent being captured (see clip below). Also making for uncomfortable viewing are clips from his time in Liberia, reporting from the side of Charles Taylor’s army. Young children wield AK-47s, high on drugs and blood thirsty for their enemies, the LURD rebels.

While these clips are hectic and disturbing, the real space for contemplation comes from the filmmaker Thomas Nordanstad’s use of Adler’s still photography, presented in a slow, methodical slideshow. Images from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Uganda, Sudan, Indonesia, Somalia, Bangladesh and many other areas of humanitarian concern, showcase Adler’s finest work as colleagues and friends describe his approach that set him apart – one that had him constantly searching out stories that the international community was not listening to, and one that sought out, as described by Adrian Evans of Panos, the intersection between daily life and the conflict that was maring it.

The War Reporter
is screening at HOST Gallery on Monday 4 October at 18.30.
Further event information can be found here

View a selection of Martin Adler’s photography at Panos Pictures