a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


What makes a good photograph?


Work in Sardinia
Wolfgang Suschitzky Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Another interesting project I filmed was an attempt to rid the whole island of Sardinia of mosquitoes. So every inch of water was sprayed with DDT, every hoof print, if it contained water, every dwelling was sprayed inside and out, every cave even wherever people lived. Malaria was a great problem for Sardinia, and it was an experiment to teach other regions afterwards how to get rid of mosquitoes. Now, they drained swamps, they fished for mosquito larvae in ever river and canal, they sprayed swamps from the air, and as I said, every dwelling, every hut, every flat, every house. And I was under the spray, I swallowed a lot of DDT, but I am still here to tell the story. The malaria subsided very quickly. The mosquitoes also disappeared fairly quickly. The poor man I remember who had to disinfect, as it were, the wells and... on each farm, they embedded DDT in concrete and threw a DDT bomb into the well, but the poor man had to drink the water afterwards to show the farmer that it’s drinkable, and he went about all day doing this job and drank and drank DDT. Well, I didn’t come to any harm. It may have prolonged my life, I don’t know. The organisation was vast they had umpteen lawyers and cars and big centres for their equipment all over the island, and mosquitoes did disappear, but in a few months time afterwards they came back on the wind, I think, from North Africa.

DDT is supposed to be really bad for you, isn’t it?

Well, I don’t think anybody came to much harm. It affected birds. It affected their capacity to lay eggs which had enough shell on them to survive. I don’t... I haven’t heard of anybody really poisoned by DDT. But that was a very interesting project. It was... I went there twice, once on a sort of technical film, and once a film for the theatres — for the cinemas — a short version using some of the material we had shot before and getting some... getting some additional material for a popular film, 20 minute film for the theatres. My photographs I took during that work were discovered by an ethnographical museum in Sardinia, and I gave them all the negatives even of that period, and they want to make an exhibition of my work which I took 50 years ago, in June of this year, in Nuoro, a largish town in Sardinia where this... this lovely museum which has local costumes and handicrafts and, things like that, on view for the public. And they have a large photographic library, and also film library, and they showed me some of the films I had taken in Sardinia.

Born in Austria, Wolfgang Suschitzky (1912-2016) trained as a photographer and became one of the first in his field to take portraits of animals. After coming to England he worked with Paul Rotha as the cameraman on various documentaries and films such as “No Resting Place”, “Ulysses” and “Get Carter”.

Listeners: Misha Donat

Misha Donat is the son of Wolfgang Suschitzky. He has composed music for the theatre and the cinema (including films directed by Lindsay Anderson, and by Albert Finney). For more than 25 years he was a senior music producer for BBC Radio 3, where he planned and produced the prestigious lunchtime concerts at St John’s, Smith Square, at which many of the world’s leading artists appeared on a regular basis, and also instigated a Young Artists’ Forum as a showcase for musicians of the coming generation. As a broadcaster himself, he has given many radio talks. Misha Donat has contributed a large number of programme notes to the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, South Bank, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Brighton Festival and other venues, and he has written CD booklets for such labels as Decca, DG, RCA, Philips and Hyperion. He has been a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine since its inception more than 10 years ago, and has written articles for The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Musical Times, The Listener, Opera, and other publications. He has taught at the University of California in Los Angeles, and has given lectures and seminars at Vassar College and Bard College in New York State, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), and in the UK at Durham University, the Barbican Centre, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Norwich Music festival. He is currently working as a producer for the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Tags: Sardinia, Africa

Duration: 5 minutes, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2008

Date story went live: 06 August 2009