Over the course of the last week I spent several tearful hours watching 2 powerful films about the war in the Middle East. The first was The Hurt Locker, a film about an elite Army bomb squad in Iraq. The second was Restrepo, a documentary chronicling the deployment of a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, an area known as one of the most deadly stations in the U.S. military. One film was a hollywood interpretation, and the other was live footage from a couple cameramen stationed with a platoon. (After watching the real footage I must applaud the efforts of hollywood, they were almost spot on in their depiction.) Both films were incredible and moving.
Watching these movies really affected me. I actually sat and sobbed after one of them. I’ve always had a strong desire to understand the truth about war. I’ve been deeply touched by movies and images depicting World War I and II, Vietnam, Rwanda, etc. But it means something different when you watch footage from a war that is happening right now, today, this very moment. When you have friends and family who are currently there, just got home, or about to be deployed. When you see the sacrifices being made and think of everyone affected by what is happening.
War is captured in different ways. Movies, music, literature, and photography. Each form is powerful in its own right. Being married to a photographer, and always having loved the way a photograph can capture a situation and tell a story, I am moved by combat photography. The images are real, transparent. They have a way of speaking truth, fear, devastation, and victory in a striking and compelling format. The photographs of David Guttenfelder (a photographer with the Associated Press) are no different. His images are beautiful. Not only has he captured the current war using conventional equipment, but he also has a campaign of images taken with his iphone. Guttenfelder is just as real as the photos he sends home. He is right in the middle of danger and conflict, sharing the same experiences as the soldiers surrounding him. Instead of a gun he shoulders a camera, capturing experiences that open the eyes of many.
I am deeply grateful for those who put their lives on the line for the safety of others. Thank you.