Damon Winter: War Photography with an iPhone (NY Times)
Thanks to the twitter stream of the German security-political journalist Thomas Wiegold1, we took notice of the impressive photo spread of Damon Winter, published in the excellent “Lens” blog of the New York Times. The 19 published pictures have their own, direct aesthetics – the photographer took them with his iPhone while accompanying parts of the 10th US Mountain Division in northern Afghanistan.
The article “Finding the Right Tool to Tell a War Story” by James Estrin describes the use of a smart phone to complement the photographer’s camera. The Pulitzer Prize Winner2 Winter, born in 1974, stated that “(…) the soldiers often take photos of each other with their phones, so they were more comfortable than if I had my regular camera.”
Of course, taking pictures with a mobile phone may be more casual than with a “real” camera – but this series of pictures shows not the least the photographer’s quality: the situations are perfectly taken, while the pictures in their composition and colours are utterly captivating.
Photography changes due to the simplification of technology and the ongoing spreading of cameras. This will influence the culture of remembrance, too: How do soldiers remember their own missions? And what kind of material have museums to collect today, to later remember today’s wars? Winter’s iPhone photos belong to the best pictures in this context.
- His blog “Augen geradeaus!” (German for the advice “look ahead” as well as the military command “Eyes front!”) is recommended for everybody interested in securty political issues, with a strong emphasis on the debates in Germany. Nevertheless, internationally relevant articles are available in Englisch, too. ↩
- Winter received the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for Feature Photography for his work on Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign. ↩