View Full Version : The Iraq War

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04-19-2003, 02:20 AM
Hello, my name is Ben. I find this site to be very interesting, one of the best sites that I found recently. I worked as a news photographer in the Chicagoland area in the 70s and covered the local news. The John Wayne Gacy story was one of the larger stories that I covered with my camera. I also served in the US Army in the early 70s as a motion picture photographer.

Since the War in Iraq there have been many still photos that have appeared and continue to appear in various media. What photographs have grabbed your attention from this war? Describe the photo and publication where they appeared. Name the photographer.

Black and white film was the standard for many years for war photography. What do you think of the many color photographs we see coming out of the Iraq war? Do the color photographs have just as much impact as B&W photos?

If you are currently a photographer in Iraq, tell us about your experiences or on the technical end, what kind of equipment you are using.

04-20-2003, 11:49 AM

I have not been impressed with the news coverage of the Iraqi War. I feel the photos have been highly edited so to highlight the glamor and glory and not the blood and carnage and horrors of war. The coverage reminds me more of the romanticised paintings of war, before photography was invented. The coverage looks more to be propaganda then pure photo journalism, if it really does exist. I do not know personally. I had a short stint as a stringer for a regional paper so my experience in this area is minimal at best. Their isn't any one image or photographer that stands out in my mind. I feel the coverage has been mediocre at best and more likely, highly propagandaized.

Mark in SD
04-22-2003, 02:49 PM
While I agree with RAP, there have been one or two photographs that have grabbed my attention.

The first was, I believe, an AP photograph. This is the one of the soldier running with a half naked Iraqi boy in his arms. Both are clearly frightened.

Another was the soldiers sleeping against a APV in a sandstorm. Their faces were completely covered and they are huddled up against their vehicles for shelter.

The last was the soldiers sleeping in foxholes dug between two lines of vehicles.

The rest have been mostly bland and there have been very little of the suffering and destruction.

Les McLean
04-22-2003, 05:03 PM

After the last Gulf war I spent some time with Don McCullin and asked why he had not covered the war. He told me that the then British government had only allowed photographers that they approved to go there. He claimed that they were trying to sanitize the reporting. I suspect that the same thing has happened in the present conflict for I have seen no images that show the hell that such situations must be.

Black and white photography is my preference and I think that it conveys war better than colour but I guess that I may well have a bias. One colour image that I do remember from war like situations is the child being carried away from the Oklahoma bombing a few years ago although it was not made by a press photographer but that is unimportant. It was a powerful image that brought home the horror.

04-23-2003, 08:30 AM
It is ike the WTC attack and the censorship of some coverage. One situation that comes to mind was watching a spanish station. My spanish is minimal but I remember seeing footage of the tragedy and horror of people hurling themselves from the inferno, out windows and plunging to their deaths on the street below, raining bodies! What came to mind was the almost involuntary reflex response to fire. All I know of is burning myself at the stove when cooking. Yet these victims had no choice but respond to their reflexes and jump from the white hot fire!

I only saw that clip once, and only on that spanish channel, and not on any of the other more main stream channels. Shades of "The Towering Inferno"?

It was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen and I will never forget it! Yet those in charge of the media, or propaganda mills of this country feel I am too sensitive, delicate to view such things and want to spare me of the emotional damage. They would rather promote wanton, digital violence and pornography on the the boob tube then televise the truth. Real reality TV?

The so called free speech in this country has been seriously damaged.

04-23-2003, 11:14 AM

Ed Sukach
04-23-2003, 03:40 PM
This is *THE* most important question any parent can face in bring up children:
What is the proper amount of protection to give them? ... Where is the line between "good" shielding them from psychological *DAMAGE* and ureasonable insulation from reality?

We do not live in a violence-free, ice-cream cone only world. I believe we must prepare our children to deal with "what there is", as much as we wish that they never be HAVE to be exposed to the "mean parts".
One thing is certain, denial does not seem to be anything like the best course of action. War *IS* terrible, horrible. All the talk of "Glory" in the universe cannot change that. How much of the truth about it do we wish - is proper - to suppress?

I just read this: "Violence retruned for violence only multiplies violence - adding more darkness to a night already devoid of stars."

Somewhere, some how ... we try to do the best we can. Most of us do pretty well.

04-23-2003, 06:20 PM
The violence that the media portrays as entertainment is uphauling to me. From The Godfather, to Friday 13th, to all the blood guts and gore that movie mogels shovel out each year. Suffice it to say I do not watch such things. That sort of entertainment has warped minds and attitudes of many Americans, and the world as to what reality really is. What did those kids at Columbine call themselves, the trench coat mafia? Decades of such perversions have dulled the senses and turned wanton violence into a joke.

But what about comparing it to people, children who live through and grew up during the Holocost of WWII. Children who watched their parents executed, gassed, rapped by man and dogs, and survived to live and tell about it. Have you ever met and talked to people who experienced such realities? It is very enlightening. They have a quiet, almost stoic aire about them, calm and empathetic. They experienced the true realities of war and violence first hand. Such people are far more well adjusted then those of us who never experienced such horrors first hand, yet grew up with the warped graphic presentetion of voilence at the movies.

I personally do not watch violent movies and I am glad. But can I stomach to watch the realities of people plummetting a hundred storeis, only the have their bodies crushed on impact? Absolutely not! My response is horror, anger, disgust, empathy, understanding, sorrow! These are the proper responses to the true realities of war and violence. To shield reality from people is wrong. Very wrong!

What would you rather your children watch? Professional wrestling, Friday the 13th, Godfather where wanton violence is turned into something to laugh at, be entertained by, like the realities of Roman gladiatorial games? Or would you rather let them watch the realities of what news there is and develope a proper disgust, hatred for violence?

04-23-2003, 08:31 PM
Humans are a strange species. We paradoxically are drawn to what we say we most abhore. We are thinking, intellectual beings governed by testosterone. At our base level the two things that move us most are sex and violence. Many pretend to be above it but everyone know they are lying, perhaps to themselves.

Everything that has happened in the past could easily happen again. We learn very little as a society as we count up the centuries.

As for the media, they as always have just found a way to make money off of our foibles. In the end we get what we want. And very few people have been able to rise above it.

The most popular sports in America, auto racing, football, wrestling.
Most popular mainstream movies Arnold, Stallone, etc
Most popular videos - porno movies - billion dollar industry

And me, I read Playboy for the articles - so there

Michael McBlane

04-23-2003, 09:18 PM

04-24-2003, 12:26 AM

I read all of the responses to The Iraq War to this point. The question seems to have become muddled as the number of responses increased. All of your responses are interesting but not all stick to the questions asked.

This is not a discussion about your feelings about the war or censorship. A new topic can be started or an existing one might be better suited for your responses to topics such as censorship in news and publications.

If the responses stray to far from the topic questions, I will ask that they be removed.

If you find a news photo about the war that you consider to be outstanding or to your liking, post a link to the photograph on your response. Looking forward to your replies.

04-24-2003, 12:44 AM
Ok, since I am back is time I do a little moderating. I understand Bens request but I would prefer that a link to the photograph be posted insted of the actual photograph. These pictures are copyrighted and we certainly do not need a hassle with AP or Reuters.

I know we all tend to ramble a little but lets try and keep it more on topic.

Ed Sukach
04-24-2003, 09:49 AM
I have found a few images of the Iraqi War that I consider to be "interesting". I have *NO* idea where to find "links" to them - nor do I have any idea of the photographer.

I have one .jpg image that would probably be a little "tough" to take ... but posting it would be "off-limits".

Where can I find "links"?

04-24-2003, 12:36 PM

We are a very informal group here and we often seem to get a bit off track in our discussions. That I guess is part of our charm. We are like a hen party that starts off talking about our spouses and end up swapping recipies.

When that happens we need to be steered back on track.

I have not seen many photographs of the war that I thought were great. Most I saw were in Time. As for B&W vs color, I think B&W still has more impact. The picture from the first desert storm, of the Iraqi burned up with half his body sticking out of the tank was the defining photograph of the war.


Michael McBlane

04-25-2003, 04:15 PM
I agree. This is an informal board where participants can express themselves, even on a tangent to the main topic. War is a very broad and highly emotional , volitile subject that will spark controversies and debates no matter what aspects you touch on. There is really no need to make threats to delete messages.

04-25-2003, 06:47 PM
Now now people lets not get testy. Ok, Ed what I meant was that probably some of the pictures shown would come from internet. So lifting it to post here would be a copyright violation. If you saw the pic in the net, then just post the link for those who wish to see those kind of things.

Michael and RAP, although the tone is a little bit harsh, Ben is certainly within his rights to request the responses to be deleted, that does not mean that they will be removed.

Ben, how about you lighten up a little uh? Respond to the answers you like and ignore the rest, you will find this makes the forums more enjoyable. If Sean and I were to go strictly by the book and remove the off topic posts and their responses half the content would be gone. For example this thread would be removed as it does not deal with any specific photographer and this is the "photographers" forum.

So c`mon guys lets stop the griping and get back to enjoying the forums.

04-25-2003, 08:07 PM

04-26-2003, 08:37 AM
I am not impressed with photo(or TV news) coverage of Iraqui war too. But, lucky me, I have oportunity to wach CNN, BBC, Al Jazeira, DW, and other non USA or UK TV /radio stations or read magazines. There is one simple reason, which I understan but hate. And I will connect it with Aggies worry for children minds. Something like this:

US(or coalition) army must censored photos for one simply reason. They can not allowe to the people(or soldiers) in USA to see that US soldiers dies too, getting without limbs because bomb exlpoding, getting ill, suffer when dying or beeing wounded etc. That will lower moral of people, who will start to saing, Hey I don't want MY child(husband, brother, sister, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, father, daughter, etc.) to get killed or anything. So, only enemy suffer, our brave soldiers who fight for right cause never gets in any trouble. Someone mention, for USA and rest of coalition countries, Iraqui war is vrtual war, while other(Iraqui) people is getting killed. Just remember about 12 years old boy who left without complete familly and both of his hands when one "precise bomb which hit only military targets" hits his house... How that was covered in US media, just wonder...

That censorship started when expression "colateral damage" was introduced. Lets call things with theire real names. There is NO such thing like "colateral damage". There are killed civilians. And that is only fair and real expression. Period.

If I was too emotional, I am sorry. I was in war 10 years ago(Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), was wounded, saw children getting killed, become invalides, and let me tell you something. All wars are dirty, and there is NO WAY to show war in "clean" way. If you are honest, you will show it with all the blod and suffer that war produce. And only one more thing. There is no way for any person (photographer in this case) who has any moral or soul to remain at distance. You must take side. All other talking about professionalism, both sides story, blah, blah, are just excuses.

Regards, Haris.

04-26-2003, 09:52 AM

One man's harsh is another man's butter. It's not easy being a referee. Keep up the good work!


I am sure we can all share some lifes experiences that have shaped what we are today. Maybe we should start another topic.

04-27-2003, 12:49 PM
To the original questions - check out http://www.digitaljournalist.org/ ('http://www.digitaljournalist.org/') for interviews and columns by some of the photographers and journalists working in Iraq.