Monday, July 15, 2013

"What do cameras and combat have in common? Neither seem to be going away"



Via NPR The Picture Show


What Do Cameras And Combat Have In Common?

"For me it's about the impact of war as it relates on a very basic human everyday life," says New York-based photographer Nina Berman, who has been photographing wounded veterans since 2003. Her image titled "Marine Wedding," made in 2006, captures a moment between Marine Sgt. Ty Ziegel and his bride on their wedding day. Ziegel was seriously wounded by a suicide car bomber in Iraq and spent 19 months in recovery.

"In that moment I saw a shellshocked couple," says Berman. "That is what war does. It disturbs, distresses and changes the normal lovely course of life."

The image itself has had a life of its own, garnering Berman a World Press Photo Award and launching Ziegel into the national spotlight to discuss the failures of veteran care.
Years later, Berman sees the image as less about the couple and more of a symbol of the impact of war.

"I think that people can be taken aback by how [Ziegel] looks," she says, "but there are a lot of people that look like him. He wasn't a freak, an anomaly; that's what this war has done. People who would have died are surviving. That is the reality."

Berman's voice shuddered as she spoke about Ziegel's passing late last year. She says she often wonders: What does it all amount to?

If you strip war of its historical and political context, it seems, what you are left with is simply to wonder: Why has war been a constant throughout human history?