When under Fire - Shoot Back!

The Story of the legendary "Bang Bang Club": They were four fearless young photographers who set out to expose the reality of Apartheid in South Africa - a battle that changed a nation but wound up almost destroying them.

"These men were more than eyewitnesses to apartheid, but also adrenaline junkies who put themselves in harm's way; while bullets flew around them, they shot pictures that exploded like nuclear warheads across the world press." (Variety)

This is the story of an unheard-of success and of a tragedy. It is also the story of a great friendship in the fight for freedom in South Africa. In their early twenties, Ken Oosterbroek, Joao Silva, Kevin Carter and Greg Marinovich went to the black townships to record the violence there, something no other white photographer had ever dared to do. Their images went round the world and appeared on the front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and Time Magazine. "Their photographs certainly accelerated the changes in this country, the end of apartheid. The images showed the whole world what was happening here and increased pressure on the regime", recounts Peter Sullivan, then editor in chief of The Star in Johannesburg. "I told them every day: No picture is important enough or worth getting shot for. But they would laugh at me. I couldn't stop them. Every day they lived in danger. They were like wild horses", says Sullivan. The four photographers were nicknamed Bang Bang Club by a magazine and became a legend. In 1991 Greg Marinovich won the Pulitzer Prize, the Oscar of photography, for his series of photos of a man getting burned. In 1994 Kevin Carter won the same prize for his controversial picture of a starving child and a vulture, which he shot during a journey to Sudan. Joao Silva stated "It was the photograph of Kevin's lifetime, a photographer's dream. Yet, at the same time it destroyed him." In the end the friends paid a high price; only two of them survived. This is the story of the Bang Bang Club.