Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nina Berman, Award Winning Photographer

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UPDATE: 22 August 2007
I would like to repost this entry today. It seems the world is just catching up to Nina Berman. The NYT did a story on her today. You read it here first, 15 March 2007. It is time for another look.

Once I saw Nina Berman's "Marine Wedding" photographs, I couldn't stop thinking about them. I kept asking people if they had seen them. No one I knew had. So I thought I would put a post up about her / them.

Encountering these pictures is difficult. Her portfolio found here is powerful---some photos are like a blow to the heart. If you visit this site, look at the multimedia piece, too. The sound track is a mashup of sounds with Laurie Anderson, singing "O Superman" from her 1982 album Big Science, over the visuals of S.W.A.T. teams training. Those "supermen" are pumping it up everywhere today---sometimes, just for fun. A recent interview with Berman in Salon provides some insight into her work (and also, a photo of the Marine, before the Iraq war).

I am thinking that her "Purple Heart" and "Marine Wedding" collection are like the American Friend's Service Committe (AFCS) "Eyes Wide Open" traveling presentation on tour last year. That presentation provided a mournful sight of boots in an orderly arrangement of rows, as well as with piles of, mostly, children's shoes, representing, respectively, American soldiers and Iraqi civilians who have died in Bush's war. Berman's soldier's pictures are like that AFSC presentation for peace. In these photos, however, the reality-based world takes over from the mournful sight of the boots. Berman is totally in our faces.

Photograph, Nina Berman, "Homeland Insecurity."

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