, by Liam Clifford, October 30, 2016

Stuart Franklin is better placed than most to examine the human ‘need’ to document the world, as he now combines his photographic career with teaching. ‘I’m a professor of documentary photography in a university up here,’ he explains down a Skype line from Norway. ‘I run a BA and a Masters programme in documentary photography. I do it 50 per cent of the time – of which half is spent on research and the rest of the time I spend photographing.’

The recent result of Franklin’s research and his views on documenting the world are contained in his new book The Documentary Impulse, which is an in-depth examination of humankind’s desire to document – from cave paintings to today’s digital world. His suitability for authoring this tome is reinforced when you consider that his documentary career has included covering events such as the 1983 Nigerian exodus, the 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster in Belgium, the conflict in Northern Ireland, famine in Sudan in the mid-1980s, as well as the events in Tiananmen Square, China, in 1989. But more of that later in the article.

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