Journal: The Eyes of War

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From my review in today's City Paper . . .

When I learned of an exhibit at the Center for Photography at Alterman Studios featuring the war portfolios of three Air Force photographers, I was skeptical.

First, because pictures of military action in Iraq and Afghanistan are censored by the U.S. Department of Defense. Second, because combat imagery can be highly political or at least susceptible to partisanship (recall the controversy over flag-draped coffins returning for burial at the beginning of the Iraq war).

Would the exhibit be pro-war or anti-war? Would it fuel Jeremiahs like Cindy Sheehan and Nancy Pelosi? Would it egg on Cassandras like Rush Limbaugh and Christopher Hitchens? Would it obscure the war's emotional traumas and death toll or would it exaggerate its brief moments of warmth and peace?

Moreover, it's been five years since the so-called war on terror began. The armed forces are overextended, the citizenry is disaffected, our commander in chief is a lame duck, the media are devalued, and the crowded presidential campaign, the outcome of which will test the political accumen of the current administration's foreign policy, is just getting started.

How affecting, aesthetically speaking, can a war exhibit be when we're already exhausted and have yet more battle fatigue, as it were, to look forward to?

The answer, I'm glad to report, is plenty.

Full story . . .

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