the landscape of war

There are too many ground zeros in Afghanistan… This is how the dead are buried near Kandahar.

See how Michael Yon photographs the war in Afghanistan. Despite the constraints of being embedded, his work conveys a very real sense of the human experience of the conflict. Being embedded means photography is never at the front line, and therefore it is almost impossible to reproduce the actual experience of war. The still, quiet, clean precision of the camera can only allude to the full sensorium of the war environment. In such circumstances, limited by what he can’t show the viewer, Michael has to find other subjects in order to build a complex set of visual narratives which combine to provide the stimulus for the viewer to imagine what can’t be conveyed by imagery alone. See how he finds imagery to evoke such absences.  And see how he captures the sometimes bizarre effects of the technology of contemporary warfare.

This is from his tiger-vision photographs of a medical evacuation of an Afghan casualty. Only the containers are familiar. Nothing else makes sense. The helicopter’s rotor blades light up as they churn through the dust.

Michael Yon was recently chosen by Times Online as one of the “40 bloggers who count.” Go to his site when you have a quiet moment and you’ll see why. (Images copyright Michael Yon here reproduced with permission and thanks.) Read more? Go to D.B.Grady’s biographical story about Yon in The Atlantic.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Axel on 06.15.10 at 8:46 pm

Shadows? in darkness? how?

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