“Eye Level in Iraq” at the De Young Elevates PhotojournalismAuthor:Alex Bigman
Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson are photojournalists rather than fine art photographers, per se. But, as is not uncommon when image-makers far exceed the expectations of their genre, the art world is where they have wound up. Eye Level in Iraq, their collection of photographs documenting the US-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, is one of the most compelling exhibitions the De Young Museum’s young photography department has shown.
Be forewarned: The scenes here are predominantly ones of utter misery. Alford and Anderson went deep into the fray to expose the rubble resulting from American “Shock and Awe” attacks, the hospital-cum-deathbeds of civilian victims, and the general social chaos that quickly became the country’s norm. In one photograph, a wealthy family stands sentinel, automatic weapons locked and loaded, outside their home to ward off looters; in another, female university students, aware of being prime kidnapping targets, hole up in one of few friendly cafes. On the more radical end of the spectrum, we see veiled women take up arms, prepared to support a fundamentalist militia in conflict against the US-installed interim government.
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