Artists Talk: Ben Brody
Please join VCP on Friday, April 8th at 6pm for an artists talk with Northampton, MA photographer and April 2016 solo-exhibitor Ben Brody. Ben’s exhibition “Endgame: Afghanistan” is on display at VCP from April 1st through May 1st, 2016.
WHERE: VCP, 49 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301
WHEN: Friday, April 8th – 6pm
The talk is FREE and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Brody has been photographing and writing about the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2005. In Afghanistan Brody primarily worked for the nonprofit GroundTruth Project, seeking to read between the lines of America’s endgame for its longest war. He tries to make images of this historical event with an eye toward the psychology and the often strange circumstances of its political and military actors. The fruit of his long labors in Afghanistan is FOREVERSTAN, an ambitious multimedia exploration of America’s attempts to extricate itself from Afghanistan in an orderly fashion.
He was recently a finalist for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, a LensCulture Exposure Award and was named to Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50 for 2014.
From the Artist:
“I have been working in Afghanistan for the better part of five years, documenting the American experience there through photography and writing. Rather than taking a strictly hard news-oriented approach, I endeavor to make images that speak to the fundamental truths about the conflict – the absurdity of a rudderless war, the alienation in the cultural upheaval on both sides, and the bankruptcy of counterinsurgency doctrine as a basis for the continued fight.
This war is personal for me, both as an American citizen and as a former soldier who fought in Iraq for more than two years. I believe this gives me a unique perspective and authority on my subject. The past twelve years of American war have been marked by a doctrinal shift away from massive, mechanized invasions (as in Iraq) and into a realm known as counterinsurgency. It is a poorly defined strategy, a loose collection of maxims and presumptions, yet many military leaders praise its virtues with almost religious fervor.
The core fallacy of the counterinsurgency doctrine is its presumption of an infallible US soldier, capable of winning anyone’s heart and mind. I often focus on showing this untruth through the profound disconnect between American and Afghan cultures, at the points where they collide. The Arab Spring drew almost every western photographer away from Afghanistan, and I am one of very few who has stayed with this story. Working for the nonprofit GroundTruth Project, I have not worked in service to an advertising-driven news cycle, and have never tailored my coverage to please the military’s strategic messaging experts or guarantee my own future access.
I find the quiet moments of this war are more often revealing than the loud. The existential folly is laid bare, the catch-22s more apparent, the tragic comedy marking everyone.”