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Iraq | Perspectives (Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography) Hardcover – November 4, 2011
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
I purchased this book after seeing Ben Lowy on the Daily Show where he discussed the work, and the "hellish" (as he put it) state of being in Iraq during his time there. However, his descriptions and explanations behind his experiences and work far overshadow anything he photographed.
As a result, we're left with a hodgepodge of completely random shots that could come from any third world country. Take away the Humvee, the title, and the occasional capture of a US soldier in some of the photos and there really is nothing indicating that this is in fact, Iraq. Furthermore, the everyday life and poverty portrayed here isn't really shocking nor in the least bit does it draw on heart strings and as such leaves an almost blank impression. Finishing the book I had to go back and look at it again because I couldn't help but think that I forgot or missed something.
Mr. Lowy had mentioned in an interview that photographing blocks of ice at market was to give Americans something that they couldn't understand; having to go purchase ice. For whatever reason, Lowy decided that this was shocking enough to his audience but somehow children drinking filthy water from junk yard tires or performing song and dance to US troops in exchange for a stick of gum wasn't profound enough, and as such these images aren't here.
Lowy may be an excellent photographer, but the content of those photos leave a lot to be desired here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this as a gift for my son who was stationed in Iraq a few years ago. As I turned the pages, I found myself going through many different emotions, but gratitude my son... Read morePublished on February 3, 2014 by Amazon Customer
I love the idea that Ben captured one of the many viewpoints soldiers have on the war. Life as a soldier can all too often be brutal and bloody. But not always. Read morePublished on February 24, 2012 by keen