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Nina Berman by Pauline Vermare


At first, it became just an outlet for me to oppose what I saw in the mainstream media, which was the lead up to the Iraq war. I remember in 2002, in December, I was shooting something at the White House - I forget what it was - and I saw all the press core getting ready to outfit themselves for the war, and I thought, "What is happening? Could this really be unfolding?" And then when the war began in March 2003 and the press coverage was very much a kind of Hollywood extravaganza -- or so it appeared on television -- I felt lied to and I felt like I needed to find some way to personally counter this and to engage in this war beyond just watching it on television. You could see pretty early on that there wasn’t going to be any visual recording of wounded or killed, either Iraqi or American, and yet you would read about, you know, “three wounded today," and I wanted to know, “what does that mean, to be wounded? And maybe that’s something I could do.” And so I just went looking for these subjects. And then I became much more interested in the whole aspect of what does it mean when you are a young person and you dedicate yourself to what you think is your perfect dream, that it’s going to get you out of your life, and then at a moment that’s not of your choosing you are completely ripped back into you old life. And then there are a lot of other elements adding to it: joining the military because you are poor, or joining the military because you are patriotic, and what does that mean?

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