Friday, August 24, 2007

The iconic image

Every war has its iconic image, argues the blog Welcome to Pottersville; World War II had its flag-raising at Iwo Jima; Vietnam had its shocking shot of the screaming, naked girl seared by napalm. Due to the Bush administration's control and manipulation of the imagery coming out of Iraq, however, we have little sense of the thousands of Iraqis we've killed, and even less of the Americans who have died in the carnage (for months the Bush administration even refused to allow photographs of the coffins being shipped back to the States). We are left, then, with the record of the walking wounded who returned home, and my guess is that "Wedding" (above left), by Nina Berman, will become the iconic image of the Iraq War. It's a formal photograph of a bride and groom, Renee Kline, 21, and Ty Ziegel, 24. Ziegel is wearing his dress uniform and combat medals, including his Purple Heart; the destruction of his features resulted from his being trapped in a burning truck following a suicide-bomber attack. His appearance in the photograph follows 19 separate surgeries.

Other photographs of Iraq War veterans by Ms. Berman can be seen in her current solo show at Jen Bekman Gallery in New York; a review with images appeared in yesterday's New York Times.

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