Yale School of Management

The Power of the Lens

October 5, 2015

The sound of an explosion rings out in the distance, and the feet of Libyan rebels shuffle quickly toward a pickup truck. Moments later comes the hiss of bullets whizzing by, then the sound of heavy breathing as the person behind the camera begins to frantically run toward another truck leaving the front lines.

Photojournalist Finbarr O’Reilly at the Global Colloquium Speakers Series on September 18 

This scene from the Libyan civil war was captured in a video showing the perspective of Canadian photojournalist Finbarr O’Reilly while he was on assignment for Reuters.

O’Reilly shared this video and other images of humanitarian crises during the first event in the Global Perspectives Speaker Series for EMBA students on September 18. He argued that photography can play a powerful role in improving society by raising awareness of global ills. In particular, O’Reilly said, photojournalism can shed light on the darker sides of industry—for example, the exploitation shown in his photographs of young people working in harsh conditions in gold, tin, and diamond mines.

“The point of showing you [these images] is to discuss what happens; this is what happens when you have all of these competing interests driven largely by economic factors,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly, winner of the 2006 World Press Photo of the Year award, was the first presenter in the new Global Perspectives Speaker Series, which exposes EMBA students to an array of voices from around the world.

O’Reilly is currently a 2015 Yale World Fellow. During his fellowship, he is studying psychology and working on a new book he is co-authoring on PTSD with Marine Sergeant Thomas James Brennan. O’Reilly earned Brennan’s trust when the photojournalist was embedded with a Marine unit in Afghanistan, where Brennan was injured by an explosion.

About the author

Matthew O'Rourke

Senior Communications Writer