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Guide to the Benjamin Lowy photographs of Iraq, 2003-2008

Summary

The collection consists of thirty-two 9x13 inch digital color inkjet photographs taken by Benjamin Lowy, documenting the U.S. military presence in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. The prints are arranged in two series: Windows and Nightvision. Images in the Windows series were taken from the bulletproof windows of the armored Humvees in which Lowy spent most of his time while on missions in Iraq; they depict street scenes with Iraqi civilians, tanks, soldiers, checkpoints, military impoundments, street life, urban Iraqi culture, and a war-ravaged Iraqi landscape. Taken through U.S. military-issue night vision goggles, photographs in the Nightvision series reveal greenish images of late-night raids, prisoners and soldiers, landscapes, families, women, and street scenes. The images in this collection were published in 2011 as a photo book titled Iraq | Perspectives. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.00825
Title
Benjamin Lowy photographs of Iraq
Date
2003-2008
Creator
Lowy, Benjamin, 1979-
Extent
3 Linear Feet, 2 boxes; 32 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Material in English

Collection Overview

The collection consists of thirty-two 9x13 inch digital color inkjet photographs taken by Benjamin Lowy, documenting the U.S. military presence in Iraq from 2003 to 2008. The images were published in 2011 as a photo book, Iraq | Perspectives.

The prints are arranged in two series: Windows and Nightvision. Images in the Windows series, reproduced as sixteen 13x19 inch color digital inkjet prints, were taken from the bulletproof windows of the armored Humvees in which Lowy spent most of his time while on documentary missions in Iraq. The images include street scenes with Iraqi civilians, tanks, soldiers, checkpoints, military impoundments, and images documenting urban Iraqi culture, and a war-ravaged Iraqi landscape. Images in the Nightvision subseries, consisting of sixteen 13x19 inch color digital inkjet prints, were taken through U.S. military-issue night vision goggles, and reveal late-night raids, prisoners and soldiers, families, women, night landscapes, and street scenes.

All the images were shot with a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera and printed on Epson Professional Paper. They are arranged in original order as received from the photographer.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research. Images may only be used for educational, non-commercial purposes; any other use requires the photographer's permission.

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All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Benjamin Lowy photographs of Iraq, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Iraq | Perspectives I: Windows, 2003-2008

16 prints

This series, consisting of 16 color digital inkjet prints, stems from images taken from the bulletproof windows of the armored Humvees in which Lowy spent most of his time while on missions in Iraq. This perspective was necessary since Lowy was unable to tour the streets of Iraq without protection. The Humvee window, evidenced in each image of this subseries, came to represent for Lowy the barrier between the Americans and Iraqis. The images portray not only street scenes with Iraqi civilians, notably Iraqi women and children, but also tanks, soldiers, checkpoints, military impoundments, street life, urban Iraqi culture, and a war-ravaged Iraqi landscape.

Box 1

2. Iraq | Perspective II: Nightvision, 2003-2008

16 prints

The images in this series, consisting of 16 color digital inkjet prints, were taken through U.S. military-issue night vision goggles, which Lowy attached to his DSLR camera with a combination of duct tape, dental floss and occasionally chewing gum. The night vision images, with an eerie greenish hue, reveal frightened civilians, abandoned streets, and U.S. soldiers. The images document the impact of war on Iraq. Dominant subjects include families, late-night raids on Iraqi dwellings, interactions between soldiers and prisoners, Iraqi landscapes, and street scenes.

Box 2
 

Historical Note

Documentary photographer Ben Lowy was born on June 4, 1979. After receiving his BFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2002, Lowy began his career covering the Iraq War in 2003. In addition to his coverage of Iraq, Lowy has worked in Darfur, Libya, Haiti, Afghanistan, and other countries. Lowy has received numerous awards for his work from World Press Photo, POYi, PDN, Communication Arts, American Photography, and the Society for Publication Design. Exhibitions of his work have been held at the Tate Modern, SF MOMA, Houston Center for Photography, Les Invalides (Paris), and Arles. In 2011, Lowy's Iraq | Perspectives won the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography by William Eggleston.

Related Material


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Provenance

The Benjamin Lowy photographs of Iraq were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2011.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Joanne Fairhurst, November 2012.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2011-0180.