The escalating civil war is drawing in experienced and not-so experienced photographers from round the world. In some ways it’s the ideal war for photographers – colourful, anarchic rebels taking on a professional standing army. Compared with Afghanistan, the access to this conflict is easy.
To cover the Afghanistan conflict in any meaningful way, photographers have to be embedded with the western armies, which means applying to and working with defence ministries and their press minders. In Libya, if you have the dollars and the guts, you just follow the road into Benghazi and from there to the ever-moving frontline.
The inexperienced learn quickly in these situations, but they also know that, like bomb-disposal soldiers, they have to be near the action. Sometimes too near. As the most revered of all war photographers, Robert Capa, put it: ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.’