Reading Response 10: War Photos in Iraq and Afghanistan

US in Iraq

In this Newsweek article, journalist Jenny Hontz interviews curator Dane Jensen from Reform Gallery in Los Angeles about his recent exhibit on photos of the Iraq and Afghanistan war taken specifically by US Military combat photographers. Jensen said that originally he wanted to display photos taken by the soldiers themselves but then discovered the talent of photographers hired by the US Military. He also wanted to draw attention to the injured soldiers from the wars and raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Throughout the interview Jensen defended his choice to only exhibit US Military photographers. He denied that the message would be skewed and claimed that the story of the war is best told by the soldiers. Perhaps this would be okay if he was explicit about he fact that these photos are from a certain perspective and the purpose of the exhibit was to show the war through the US military’s eyes. But we live in the US, the military’s propaganda is already everywhere. We know their perspective and personally I crave a new one.

I think if we really were to get a good picture of the war, this exhibit would be more successful if it included multiple perspectives. Jensen talked a lot about recording history and giving the audience a sense of what that war is all about. But the US Military is 100% political. They choose what images get released and their photographers, paid by the government, have a certain perspective also. Another limitation that a US Military photographer has is access to certain parts of the war. They are constantly with the US soldiers. They are always a threat to the opposition therefore cannot capture that side of the war.


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