In the first collaboration of its kind, more than 20 combat journalists and military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have pooled their images from the battlefield for a groundbreaking multimedia exhibit. Its appearance at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center is being sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Pro Chapter.
Conflict Zone was inspired by Joao Silva, the New York Times photographer who lost both legs in a landmine blast in October 2010 in Afghanistan. Brought together by the nonprofit Independence Fund, Joao’s colleagues from the press corps donated their images for an art exhibit that features some of the most celebrated combat journalists and photographers of this generation.
Contributors include the late Chris Hondros, who was killed in Libya in April 2011, as well as award-winners Andrea Bruce, Jeff Newton, Greg Marinovich, Kathleen Flynn, Jason P. Howe and Silva. The work exhibited in Conflict Zone first appeared in the New York Times, Getty Images, the Washington Post, CBS News, the St. Petersburg Times, the San Antonio-Express News and USA Today, as well as locally in Fort Worth Weekly. Work by other local photojournalists may also be included in the exhibit as it appears at Fort Worth Community Art Center.
Silva’s haunting images snapped in the seconds after he was injured are part of the exhibit, which includes photos as well as video and audio from Iraq and Afghanistan. The The exhibit also includes the iconic image from Hondros of a screaming 5-year-old girl whose parents were shot and killed at a checkpoint in Iraq.
Contributor Bill Putnam is a freelance photojournalist whose photographs from Afghanistan have appeared in Fort Worth Weekly as well as many other publications. He says that Joao Silva’s photographs in particular “help bridge a chasm between the safe world and the world that many of us live in. Photographing in war zones, hell, being in war zones changes all of us. We literally see the worst and best of humanity unfolding before our eyes. You can't be unchanged by those events.”
Co-directors of the exhibit are Steve Danyluk, a U.S. Marine and combat veteran who is the founder of the Independence Fund, and Jackie Spinner, former Washington Post Baghdad bureau chief and a professor at Columbia College Chicago.