• /the-shot-blog/photographer-michael-coyne-his-image-iranian-rehab-center-symbol-futility-and-waste
    © Michael Coyne, Rehabilitation Centre, Iran (1985)

    By Michael Coyne

    Photographer Michael Coyne

    Over a period of eight years, I documented life in Iran at a time when the country was mostly closed to international media. I was there after the Islamic revolution when the religious leaders were at the height of their power, and during the Iran/Iraq war.

    I travelled with a film crew and on one occasion was invited to visit a rehabilitation center for people wounded in the war with Iraq, to see injured men lying in bed or sitting nearby, their limbs swathed in bandages. Because everyone was focused on the film crew, I was able to wander away from the ward, unnoticed, until I came across a room with callipers and artificial limbs piled on the floor and leaning against the wall. On the wall above there was an elaborately framed painting of Khomeini and a verse in Persian, which I later learned was a poem by a Shiite mystic urging dedication to Allah.

    I immediately realized what a powerful image this could be as a symbol of the futility and waste of war. To me, also, it showed what became of the many young men who at, Khomeini’s urging, ran across minefields to clear the way for the advancing Iranian army. It made me angry then, as it still does, to think that the Basij, as they were called, some of them as young as twelve, were persuaded to commit, as I saw it, suicide. Because I was shooting with Kodachrome 11 (ISO 64) in very low lighting, I used a tripod with a cable release but, due to nervousness, bungled the first shots. I then managed to take a number of frames before a medical person came in and angrily asked me to leave.

    Later on, this was one of the 35 photographs published in National Geographic magazine as a photographic essay entitled "Iran Under the Ayatollah."

    WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath will show at the Annenberg Space for Photography through June 2, 2013. Learn more about Michael Coyne on his official website.

  • /the-shot-blog/interview-us-marine-gunnery-sergeant-carlos-%E2%80%9Coj%E2%80%9D-orjuela

    © Louie Palu; U.S. Marine Gysgt. Carlos “OJ” Orjuela, age 31, Garmsir District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from Project: Home Front (2008)

    Last week, photographer Louie Palu's presented his story behind his image above, taken in Afghanistan in 2008 and featured in our WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY exhibit. Today we bring you an interview with the man in the photo, United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos “OJ” Orjuela.

    ASP: What kind of emotions did you experience the first time you saw Louie's photograph?

    Carlos Orjuela: I was ecstatic. I knew that Louie was a professional photographer, but I was floored that the picture came out so well with that much detail given the conditions in the field we were operating in.  

    ASP: How do you feel when you look at this photo now?

    Carlos Orjuela: Famous and honored that I could be part of this work.

    ASP: How did the photo come about?

    Carlos Orjuela: We had just traveled several hours from our combat outpost to a forward operating base on a road known for being mined. Louie spent many hours getting to know everyone in our unit over several weeks. Louie asked if I would mind if he took some pictures after the patrol, that it was important for history. It was right at the end of our mission in the area we had operated in for several months, it was 120 degrees and a sandstorm was about to hit the base. Louie lived amongst us 24/7 and it was very natural to have him around and taking photographs.

    ASP: What kinds of things were you thinking about during the photoshoot?

    Carlos Orjuela: That I should probably button up my chin strap.

    ASP: What kind of reactions have you received from other people (family, friends, strangers) who have seen or recognized you in the photo?

    Carlos Orjuela: I am very well known for playing pranks on people therefore no one I knew believed it was really me when they saw the photo. I would have to do an online search with my name to show my friends and colleagues Louie's pictures to prove it was really me. As of late, I have had many friends and co-workers calling me telling me that they saw my picture all over the Los Angeles area while the show is on at the Annenberg Space.

    WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath will show at the Annenberg Space for Photography through June 2, 2013. Learn more about Louie Palu on his official website.

  • /the-shot-blog/sal-veder-his-pulitzer-prize-winning-photograph

    Want to know the story behind how Pulitzer Prize winner Sal Veder took his famous powerful shot, Burst of Joy, back in 1973? Watch an interview of Veder talk about the moment he snapped the photo, which depicts POW United States Air Force Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm being reunited with his family at Travis Air Force Base in California.

    See this photo as part of the WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography - on view now through June, 2, 2013.

  • /the-shot-blog/spotted-space-bill-fagerbakke

    Coach and Spongebob Squarepants star Bill Fagerbakke stopped by the Photography Space to take in WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY during its very first week. Hope you enjoyed this powerful exhibit, Bill. Thanks for stopping by!

  • /the-shot-blog/louie-palu-behind-photograph

    © Louie Palu; U.S. Marine Gysgt. Carlos “OJ” Orjuela, age 31, Garmsir District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from Project: Home Front (2008)

    By Louie Palu

    Louie Palu, Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2010

    In the summer of 2008, I spent several months covering frontline fighting around the volatile districts west of the city of Kandahar in Afghanistan. By August I was preparing to move from an area under Canadian Army command in Kandahar to one in neighbouring Helmand Province where the United States Marines had been fighting. When I arrived at the Marine’s headquarters the public affairs officer asked me what I wanted to do. I asked her to send me to the combat outpost located in the worst area with the most austere conditions. I was told to meet a Marine at a tent on the flight path at Kandahar Airfield around midnight and they would take me on a C-130 military aircraft, then a helicopter followed by a heavily armed convoy (a journey totaling several days) and finally arriving in Garmsir District at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Apache North. As expected from my 2+ years covering the war, it was 120 degrees Farenheit everyday, 4-6 patrols per day, no running water or toilet and sand fleas biting me all night.

    At 31, U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Orjuela was one of the oldest Marine’s in the unit at the FOB. Most of the Marines in the unit were just 21-years-old. The conditions were so rough there that for me what said the most about this place was the faces of these young men. Everyday I spent several hours talking to each Marine and getting to know them, sometimes it took several days to build a connection. When we returned to the FOB at the end of each patrol I took a Marine into an empty bunker where there was natural light and took some portraits of them for about 5-10 minutes. Carlos was the very first Marine I photographed for this body of work.

    WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath will show at the Annenberg Space for Photography through June 2, 2013. Learn more about Louie Palu on his official website.

  • /the-shot-blog/photos-warphotography-opening-gala

    Last night was the opening party for our 11th exhibit, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY. The show opens to the public on Saturday, March 23, 2013.

    As you might expect, The show is very powerful and quite moving. It is a difficult yet very important subject matter.

    It was also a great opportunity to see photographers whose images are featured in the exhibit get together with photographers from our past shows. Seen here are Barbara Davidson (2010 Pictures of the Year), Kirk McKoy (Los Angeles) and Nick Ut (WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY).

    Two Pulitzer Prize winners whose work is in WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: David Hume Kennerly and Nick Ut.

    Here is Beauty Culture featured photographer Lauren Greenfield with (and another Pulitzer Prize winner!) Barbara Davidson.

     Also in the crowd was actor and SHFT co-founder Adrian Grenier.

    Around halfway through the event, attendees gathered in the Digital Gallery of the Space to view the original short documentary film. At the conlusion of the film, there were more than a few guests who were moved to tears.

    Here's a shot of some of the photographers whose work is in WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: (From left to right) Carolyn Cole, Ashley Gilbertson, Nick Ut, Luis Sinco, Hayne Palmour IV and Edouard H.R. Glück.

    The show opens to the public tomorrow, March 23 and runs through June 2, 2013.

    Photos by Unique Nicole for the Space

    Blog Tags: War/Photography, Exhibit
  • /the-shot-blog/learn-more-about-photo-warphotography
    Private First Class Wayne C. Weidner, assumed American, dates not known
    Personnel of Battery B, 937th Field Artillery Battalion, US 8th Army, Attached to the IX US Corps, Fire Their Long Toms on Communist Targets in Support of Elements of the 25th US Infantry Division on the West Central Front, Near the Village of Nunema, Korea, 1951

    This powerful photo from our upcoming War/Photography exhibit was taken by Private First Class Wayne Weidner during the Korean War. Want to know how the image was photographed? An excerpt from the accompanying 600-page exhibit catalogue, soon to be on sale the day the show opens on March 23, explains:

    Another artillery photograph in this section was taken during the Korean War of personnel in Battery B, 937th Field Artillery Battalion, U.S. 8th Army, firing on Communist targets in support of the 25th U.S. Infantry Division near the village of Nunema, Korea (1951). The self-propelled guns seen in this photograph are artillery placed on a motorized chassis capable of rapid maneuver. “Fast-moving forces of armored infantry and tanks needed their artillery to keep pace with the advance,” wrote Jeffrey Hunt. “Weapons of this type could be brought into action very quickly and with devastating consequences for an enemy caught unprepared or above ground. And, as in this picture, the firing of heavy guns, whether on land or aboard ship, is a visually stunning spectacle.” Taken at night, the camera’s lens was held open until both guns had fired, illuminating the scene with explosions and the reflected light from the snow.

    Click here to watch a preview of the exhibit.

  • /the-shot-blog/presenting-warphotography-video-trailer

    Our next exhibit, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath, debuts next month. The show, organized by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will include over 150 images that present both the military and civilian point of view of war. Mark your calendars - WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY opens Saturday, March 23, 2013 Watch the video teaser for the exhibit above.