Perspective on Iraq

War photographer wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize
June 1, 2011
 

Captured: image from Lowy’s night-vision photos taken in Iraq.

Captured: image from Lowy’s night-vision photos taken in Iraq.
Benjamin Lowy

Benjamin Lowy, a war and feature photographer,
has won the fifth Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography for a collection of photographs from six years of the Iraq War. He took the photographs with his camera pointed through Humvee windows or military-issue night-vision goggles. The prize includes a grant of $3,000 and publication of the photographer’s first book, which will be titled Iraq / Perspectives. It will be published in the fall by Duke University Press in association with CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies.

After Lowy found it impossible to photograph on the streets unprotected, he decided to make images through Humvee windows, which emphasized his sense of detachment and the physical separation between American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.

“The images are not intimate,” he says. “Metaphorically speaking, the windows represent a barrier that impedes dialogue. The pictures show a fragment of Iraqi daily life taken by a transient passenger in a Humvee.”

To take the night-vision photographs, Lowy attached the goggles to his camera with duct tape, dental floss, or chewing gum. Among other things, he photographed soldiers as they entered houses and bedrooms of Iraqi civilians during nighttime raids.

Color-photography pioneer William Eggleston judged the competition and chose Lowy to win the prize. Lowy’s photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and GQ.


View more images from the series.