Jim Bartlett served a three-year stint in the Army Combat Engineers and studied history and political affairs at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 1992, he packed his cameras, a flak jacket, and the burning desire to follow in the footsteps of legendary photo journalist Robert Capa, and groundbreaking war correspondent Ernie Pyle. He bought a one-way ticket to the former Yugoslavia. Armed with only a letter of accreditation from his college newspaper, Bartlett charmed various foreign press offices into cutting him his press cards. The adventure became its own tale of survival, hard knocks and recognition Journalism 101 in a hard place learning from the best in the business as they covered the events unfolding in the Balkan Peninsula.
By tagging along with Pulitzer-winner Greg Marenovich, Martin Bell and Kate Adie of the BBC, Reuterss correspondent Kurt Shork, Newsweeks Dave Hackworth and a host of other seasoned professionals, Bartlett learned journalism from the ground up and developed his own style. Known for its proximity to action, and reverence for the people who make up the stuff of war, Bartletts philosophy is grounded in Capas golden rule: If your pictures arent good enough, youre not close enough.
Bartlett got his first break taking Newsweek associate editor Dave Hackworth to a conflict area hed discovered, the besieged enclave of Bosanski Brod in northern Bosnia. Largely ignored by the press, Bartlett helped report a four-page spread in Newsweek that uncovered extensive embargo-busting and a shady South African arms trade. He was later taken on by the prestigious New York bureau of Frances SIPA Press Agency. Jim Bartlett sees the Internet as the real outlet for creative photojournalism today and on a recent trip to the Caucuses in Southern Russia he coined the term Berserkistan.