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Iraq | Perspectives (Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography) Hardcover – November 4, 2011

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Iraq | Perspectives (Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography) + Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq + Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer's Chronicle of the Iraq War
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Lowy's photos are unmistakably scenes from Iraq—ruined buildings, street vendors, kids with missing limbs, billboards for newly minted cellphone services. In Lowy's images, we see daily life returning to this country, but the children shown have known little but this forlorn landscape. Dreariness is all. The most original component of Lowy's book is the thematic divisions. The first part consists of images captured through the windows of military Humvees, while the second part consists entirely of green night-vision images and yields the most intimate moments, including Iraqi civilians being intimidatd and detained in what appear to be their own homes.” - David Fellerath, The Independent Weekly


“Lowy’s photographs of both daily life and the terror of warfare were taken through the windows of a Humvee and through military-issue night vision goggles. They provide a revealing perspective on what he describes as ‘the fear and desperation that is war.’” - Shelf Unbound (A Top Small Press Books of 2011)


“The mediation inscribed in the image - the window frame, the night vision haze - positions us in relation to the scene. By representing the act of perception, by addressing the experience of observation as much as the observation of experiences, Lowy’s subject is both what the soldier sees and how the soldier sees. The pictures contain the clues and tools that encourage the audience to consider photojournalism as practice. Lowy’s frames do what all photography does, but they do it exceptionally well: they simultaneously invite us to look, and hold us in place.” - Leo Hsu, Foto8


“Whether looking out of armoured car windows or through green-tinted night-vision goggles, the military has little opportunity to connect with the local people or everyday life, as Lowy's shots make chillingly clear.” - British Journal of Photography (named one of their best books of 2011)


“I’m not one to shirk engaging the discussion of a book but Iraq | Perspectives puts me in an unusual place. It is an important, memorable and arresting photobook, and for all these reasons I’m left rather without anything to say. This book is hard for me to talk about simply because the work speaks so extraordinarily well for itself. The images that are compact and succinct, presenting at once the literal and metaphorical. It is among the best representations of the day to day realities of our soldiers and the psychological boundaries keeping us from comprehending Iraq and this war.” - Sarah Bradley, Photo-Eye


"These images were practically asking to be in a book together-everything about them-the conception, the subject, the fact that we're still at war, the way the pictures were taken. Benjamin's work is an opportunity to see as an American soldier sees when in Iraq-nobody's ever shown that, especially through night vision goggles.”—William Eggleston, Prize Judge


“I’m not one to shirk engaging the discussion of a book but Iraq | Perspectives puts me in an unusual place. It is an important, memorable and arresting photobook, and for all these reasons I’m left rather without anything to say. This book is hard for me to talk about simply because the work speaks so extraordinarily well for itself. The images that are compact and succinct, presenting at once the literal and metaphorical. It is among the best representations of the day to day realities of our soldiers and the psychological boundaries keeping us from comprehending Iraq and this war.”
(Sarah Bradley, Photo-Eye)

“Lowy’s photographs of both daily life and the terror of warfare were taken through the windows of a Humvee and through military-issue night vision goggles. They provide a revealing perspective on what he describes as ‘the fear and desperation that is war.’”
(Shelf Unbound (A Top Small Press Books of 2011))

“The mediation inscribed in the image - the window frame, the night vision haze - positions us in relation to the scene. By representing the act of perception, by addressing the experience of observation as much as the observation of experiences, Lowy’s subject is both what the soldier sees and how the soldier sees. The pictures contain the clues and tools that encourage the audience to consider photojournalism as practice. Lowy’s frames do what all photography does, but they do it exceptionally well: they simultaneously invite us to look, and hold us in place.”
(Leo Hsu, Foto8)

“Whether looking out of armoured car windows or through green-tinted night-vision goggles, the military has little opportunity to connect with the local people or everyday life, as Lowy's shots make chillingly clear.”
(British Journal of Photography (named one of their best books of 2011))

About the Author

Benjamin Lowy is a freelance photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He received a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2002 and began his career in 2003 when he was embedded with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to cover the Iraq War. Lowy’s career as a conflict photographer has also taken him to Haiti, Darfur, and Afghanistan, among other places. Lowy’s photographs have appeared in such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, Stern, National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Journal, and Rolling Stone, and his work has been recognized by American Photography, Foam Magazine, POYi, Photo District News (PDN’s 30), World Press Photo, and Critical Mass. His work has been exhibited at San Francisco MOMA, Tate Modern, Open Society Institute’s Moving Walls, Noorderlicht Photofestival, Battlespace, and the Houston Center for Photography, among others. Lowy’s photographs from Iraq were chosen from over two hundred entries as the fifth winner of the biennial CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography.

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Product Details

  • Series: Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography
  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (November 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822351668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822351665
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 12.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rick on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
These images are not the bloody, chaotic moments of a protracted war with Iraq but speak every bit as loudly. There is a palpable tension that exists in the photographs that shows the disconnect between the U.S. military and the Iraqi people. Lowy used humvee windows to frame his subjects throughout the first half of the book and resulting images are beautifully frozen moments of our time in Iraq.

A sadness permeates many of these images as you seen the disdain on the faces and body language of the Iraqis. A sadness also exists as you feel for the soldier - at times a target, at other times a liberator - but always locked out developing any deeper connection to the Iraqi people. Watching life outside roll by through a bulletproof window while on patrol is a perfect metaphor for this divide between cultures.

The second half of the book is a series of eerie images made through night vision goggles. The night raid images are haunting and the tunnel vision perspective shows me the war from a soldier's viewpoint.

The book itself is elegant in design and will make a great addition to my photo book collection. Mr. Lowy's images of the war will stand the test of time and are an important and artistic document of the U.S. involvement in Iraq.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is divided into two categories. Ben's photographs through the windows of the army transports and his work through night vision goggles.

As a commercial photographer myself I have a huge respect for war photographers. That said much of the work we see coming out of Irag and Afghanistan is the "expected" war photography of blood, bombs, and guns. Ben's perspective is a unique look into Iraq that he achieved by photographing the everyday scenes that passed by the window instead of showing the sensationalized scenes we are accustomed to viewing as part of the 24 hour news cycle. Shooting through the window often leaves his subjects unaware they are being photographed sharing a more natural take on their lives.

Ben then shows the world of Iraq at night which is both haunting and strangely soothing. There is no doubt that Ben is a great photographer and his book is worth checking out.
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Format: Hardcover
By exploring a war-zone with the visual metaphor of "barriers," Lowy brings an insightful and fresh vision of day-to-day life in Iraq during the war. While some may be disappointed in a lack of expected and sensational "blood-and-gore" approach to conflict photography, this book carries layers and levels of contemplative force.

It is not a book that quickly and easily settles in - it may take many audiences multiple viewings to see how the quiet intensity of color, compositions and theme bring together the unifying vision of an "outsider" - but once the revelation sinks in, it is a rare and powerful experience.
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Iraq | Perspectives (Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography)
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