“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 I know of has ever shown that, especially through night vision goggles.”
“Iraq was a land of blast walls and barbed wire fences. I made my first image of a concrete blast wall through the window of my armored car. These pictures show a fragment of Iraqi daily life taken by a transient passenger in a Humvee; yet they are a window to a world where work, play, tension, grief, survival, and everything in between is as familiar as the events of our own lives. . . . [In] the ‘Nightvision’ images . . . as soldiers weave through the houses and bedrooms of civilians during nighttime military raids, they encounter the faces of their suspects as well as bystanders, many of whom are parents protecting their children. . . . I hope that these images provide the viewer with momentary illumination of the fear and desperation that is war.”
The powerful and arresting color photographs in Iraq | Perspectives, taken over a six-year period through Humvee windows and military-issue night vision goggles, capture the desolation of a war-ravaged Iraq as well as the tension and anxiety of both U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. To photograph on the streets unprotected was impossible for Lowy, so he made images that illuminate this difficulty by shooting photographs through the windows and goggles meant to help him, and soldiers, to see. In doing so he provides us with a new way of looking at the war—an entirely different framework for regarding and thinking about the everyday activities of Iraqis in a devastated landscape and the movements of soldiers on patrol, as well as the alarm and apprehension of nighttime raids.
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 World Press Photo, POYi, Photo District News (PDN’s 30), Critical Mass, American Photography, and Foam Magazine. His work has been exhibited at San Francisco MOMA, Tate Modern, Open Society Institute’s Moving Walls, Noorderlicht Photofestival, Battlespace, the Empty Quarter, and the Houston Center for Photography, among others.
iAfghanistan: 2011 New York Photo Festival
Interview with Benjamin Lowy: 2011 New York Photo Festival
Iraq | Perspectives: Photographs by Benjamin Lowy
Exhibit on view in the Special Collections Gallery at Perkins Library
October 23 to December 11, 2011
Opening reception and book signing
Thursday, November 10, 2011, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Rare Book Room, Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Talk and book signing
November 3, 2011, 6 p.m.
George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film
900 East Avenue, Rochester, New York
December, 2, 2011, 6 p.m.
International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street, New York City
May 5, 2012, 26 p.m.
Philadelphia Photo Arts Book Fair
1400 N. American St., #103, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Part of a CDS presentation of First Book Prize books
Published by Duke University Press and CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies
120 pages | 12.5 x 10.5 | 96 color photographs
ISBN 978-0-8223-5166-5, cloth $39.95
Iraq | Perspectives is available from your local bookseller or by ordering directly from Duke University Press.
AVAILABLE FROM CDS: signed first edition, $50