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Iraq | Perspectives: Photographs by Benjamin Lowy

Selected by William Eggleston to win the fifth biennial CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

Published by Duke University Press and CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies

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 “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.”
—William Eggleston

“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.”
—Benjamin Lowy

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.

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Photo Gallery

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About Benjamin Lowy

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.

Benjamin Lowy’s: website, Tumblr, Instagram

7 Most Captivating Photojournalists on Instagram: Digital Trends

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ben Lowy: Mark Seliger's Capture

Interview: On TIME using an iPhone photo on cover for first time

Ben Lowy: Virtually Unfiltered: The New York Times Lens Blog

Ben Lowy Instagrams the Conventions: The New Yorker Photo Booth 

2012 Infinity Award for Photojournalism: International Center for Photography

2012 Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Grant

A Look into the Life of Conflict Photographer Benjamin Lowy: Popular Photography

Life During Wartime: New York Times Magazine

Hipstamatic in Kabul: The 6th Floor: Eavesdropping on the Times Magazine

Bad Guys vs. Worse Guys in Afghanistan: New York Times Magazine

Behind the Scenes with Jon Stewart: The Daily Show Host on Fox News, Obama and the Power of Satire: Rolling Stone

One Photojournalist’s Surreal Ride into Libya’s War Zone: PhotoBlog on MSNBC.com

This is How You Start a War: GQ

You Never Forget That First Taste of War: The Photographers that Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros Left Behind: New York Magazine

In Search of Afghanistan’s Hidden Riches: Fortune Magazine’s 500th issue

iAfghanistan: 2011 New York Photo Festival

Interview with Benjamin Lowy: 2011 New York Photo Festival

Painting in Deadly Oil: The New York Times Lens Blog

Behind the Scenes: A Different Battleground: The New York Times Lens Blog 

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Exhibitions and Events

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

Book signing
December, 2, 2011, 6 p.m.
International Center of Photography
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street, New York City

Book Signing
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

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Ordering Information

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
November 2011

Iraq | Perspectives is available from your local bookseller or by ordering directly from Duke University Press.

First Book Prize in Photography winner Benjamin Lowy's Iraq | Perspectives now available as enhanced e-book on iTunes

AVAILABLE FROM CDS: signed first edition, $50

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