The de Young Museum is marking the tenth anniversary of the United States-led allied invasion of Iraq with “Eye Level in Iraq: Photographs by Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson.” Photojournalists Alford and Thorne were embedded in Iraq before the invasion occurred, and stayed for two years to document the country’s stories that were underrepresented in the press. The images are of ordinary Iraqis’ death by inaccurate bombs, the survivors’ subsequent horror, and those who chose to protest or fight back. The clearest point in an image often isn’t always the subject, but it’s an unequivocal choice of substance over a crystalline aesthetic. Explanatory wall texts by the photographers remove any fear of sensationalism; it’s evident that Alford and Thorne made these images with empathy and receptivity—documenting the changing Iraqi reality.
“Eye Level in Iraq: Photographs by Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson” is on view at the de Young Museum though June 16, 2013.