Monday, April 4, 2011

Afghanistan in 4 Frames...embedded photojournalists capture soldiers at ease! Thought-provoking San Francisco Exhibit!

Quiet intimate moments captured on film!

At the height of the War in the Afghanistan conflict, heart-wrenching images flooded the airwaves daily on the evening news.

Now, thought-provoking stills of the war-torn country– at least eighty in number – are on exhibit in the lower level of City Hall in downtown San Francisco.

Thanks to funding provided by the Art Commission, the insightful work of four reputable photojournalists (who were embedded with the military forces overseas for five years), provides a golden opportunity for Americans to get an up-close “insider look” at a soldier’s daily routine.

For example, a handful of the intimate photographs capture average soldiers at rest or on-the-ready for action.

The photographers – Lynsey Addario, Teru Kuwayama, James Lee and Eros Hoagland – actually risked their lives chronicling the (at-times) disturbing shots of Afghans caught in the crossfire, too.

James Lee, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, traveled near the Pakistan border with the Afghan National Security Forces and was able to snap a color photo essay (titled "Counter Narratives") that offers up a rare view of a military group preparing to seize power once the Allies withdraw.

Light-hearted photographs – one features a bird perched on the beret of a young soldier – are also included in the comprehensive collection.

Teru Kuwayama is the lone artist included in the riveting display who facilitated the use of film rather than digital technology for practical reasons.

According to Kuwayama – the equipment was less obtrusive and allowed for easier maneuvering and better access in regions where fragile battery-operated cameras weren’t feasible.

Pulitzer prize-winner – Lynsey Addario – focused her lens on female Marines performing routine duties in the community ("Women at War") where the soldiers reached out to women and children in ways their male counterparts in uniform could not.

A series of stills – "Out of the Line of Fire" – captured female forces shaving their legs, grooming their hair, and relaxing off-duty in unlikely perches in the most volatile-of-regions near the enemy lines.

Afghanistan in 4 Frames is on display through May 13th at San Francisco City Hall (in the lower level).


James Lee photograph