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Heidi Bradner is one of the original Mercenary gang, created in Moscow in 1991 when the Soviet Union fell apart and every day was a BIG news day. Heidi had just arrived from Prague and photographers in Moscow were at that time not lacking for work. I sent her to Georgia, just one of several places where civil war was raging as the old empire was desintegrating. All the photographers were sending back photos of "guys with guns" which, when war breaks out, you tend to get plenty of. It's fine, but you can only run so many of these, and I was getting, well, many! But Heidi sent me a wonderful photograph of an old woman in a Georgian costume, standing on a balcony, weeping, and the photo played and played all over the world. It taught me an important lesson, and though the boys still prefered to send me more images of guys with guns, other more emotional images starting trickling in. Some of you have heard this story many times but Heidi has done a lot more since then. Recently, she was commissioned by Mother Jones magazine for a photo essay on post-war Chechnya and you can see some of these images here.

Heidi's home is Alaska, and the Russian climate, which she has endured since 1991 doesn't bother her at all. She started her career in photography there in 1986 and has a wide variety of experience as a reporter and photographer in Alaska, the Czech Republic and now Russia. Heidi has several photojournalism awards to her credit, including recently the Leica Gold Medal of Excellence.

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