16 Mars 2005 - 15 January 2006
The war against terror waged in retaliation for the attacks of 11 September has mobilized countless journalists on the frontlines at Ground Zero, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. So why do we have the vague feeling that the human reality of the fighting, the violence and suffering that are part of war, have escaped the notice of this unprecedented media onslaught?
In a coincidence that could only happen to true professionals, the VII (pronounced seven) photo agency was founded in New York on 9 September 2001 by seven photojournalists who wanted to keep control of the distribution channels for their photos: Alexandra Boulat, Ron Haviv, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Christopher Morris, James Nachtwey and John Stanmeyer. The seven were later joined by Christopher Anderson and Lauren Greenfield.
The pictures James Nachtwey took in the ruins of the World Trade Center have helped shape the apocalyptic image of the New York tragedy. VII’s multifaceted photo essay covers the period from 11 September 2001 to July 2003, shortly after Baghdad was taken. Each of the fifty-four pictures on display here gives us reason for pause: could this have happened? did it happen? is what we’re seeing not someone’s fabrication of events? Some of the scenes may shock us; the movies and even the televised news have probably accustomed us to a sanitized view.
In what is a remarkably coherent approach, the photographers of VII remind us that war, real war, is a reality in which all humanity is hurt.