The Annenberg Space for Photography recently hosted one of its IRIS Night Lecture Series featuring the “War/Photography” exhibit.
Photojournalist, Nina Berman led audience members through the progression of her career as she traveled from Vietnam to Afghanistan and across the United States over the past 30 years in an attempt to relay prevalent issues surrounding war and its aftermath.
Berman describes her artistic inspiration as trying to understand her own emotions through photography as a means of dealing with public issues around the world regarding women’s justice in Arab nations as well as the U.S.’s reaction to wounded soldiers. To Berman, “War is invisible; we are reminded of it and affected by it. It inspires a sense of power and romantic fantasies.” When examining her pieces, this sense of power is evident.
One particular piece was of a woman in Afghanistan completely veiled in royal blue silk holding a postcard with Arabic scripture. The postcard appeared to be the woman’s means of using written word for political and social expression and creative way to depict the fact that thoughts cannot be ignored and transcend throughout the world by communication and expression.
When asked if the people and stories personally overwhelmed her, Berman describes feeling isolated in the aftermath of September 11th but the importance of getting public attention is worth it since “it feels like you are breaking ground.”
When a photography student questioned her about the components of great documentary photography, Berman explained, “I like to photograph things I do not know the answer to. Those things that have a message that you can find an initial aesthetic approach to understanding and connect with subject matter and move you deeply.”
The components of war photography and grappling with the surrounding issues of government, citizens and purpose lead to questions that have yet to be answered by politics or mediaw. War photography and photojournalism as a field have given insight into subjects that are beyond what words can describe and the Annenberg Space for Photography has provided an outlet for artistic expression in dealing with complex issues.
The next exhibit the Annenberg will host ia Helmut Newton in his “White Women, Sleepness Nights, Big Nudes” exhibit opening June 29th.