Posted by: photochika42 | November 13, 2010

DCFotoWeek Exhibit Critique

The photographer who I went to see was Peter van Agtmael. The theme of his exhibit was the effects of war both in Iraq and Afghanistan and at home. Van Agtmael created the theme of the effects of war in Iraq and home. There were many pictures of life within the bases around Iraq and Afghanistan, and pictures of veterans who made it home without an arm or leg that are shocking and inspiring. He would spend between three and nine weeks at a time overseas taking pictures of what he saw over there.

Graffiti Van Agtmael found in a bathroom

The lighting that he used was either natural (from the sun) or from a headlight and LEDs. Van Agtmael wouldn’t always use flash. With these photos, the lack of flash and use of a headlight or LEDs made the composition of the photo more interesting to the viewer.

 

Van Agtmael's photograph of a victim of violence

The slideshow did involve some friends of Van Agtmael while he was over in Iraq or Afghanistan, or when he came to visit them at home. A few pictures that Van Agtmael included in his slideshow presentation were harder to look at because they included someone who was injured, and a lot of blood was normally associated with the injury. Even with some of these photographs, there is still a sense of detachment between viewing the photograph and actually being in the moment when the photograph is taken.  Van Agtmael also felt that a still photo is more profound way to capture life.

 

IED Explosion that Van Agtmael witnessed

Some of the photography was more appealing to me than others. For example, photos of injured soldiers or photos that included a good amount of blood were harder for me to look at than the photos of far away explosions (like the one above) or of life within the camp. The fact that he took photos of graffiti on the bathroom was interesting, because not many people are interested in graffiti. This made me realize that you can take a photograph of anything, whether it is of a bathroom wall or of a gory scene.

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