Landscapes of War

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With the advent of photography and other forms of media communication, we now have the opportunity to see places we have never been and to participate in experiences in which we may otherwise never take part. For instance, because we are in a war in Iraq, we see imagery of the Middle East in one form or another almost everyday. The images I am presenting of the Middle East are taken from movies, video games, the news, and soldiers themselves. In each of the images, the people have been removed. By leaving only the bare landscape to contemplate, they allow the viewer to recognize and question the circularity and repetition of information while exploring the way that our understanding of place is formed.

These barren landscapes of endless desert and awesomely blue sky present the Middle East as a giant sand trap. Rarely do we see the cities, rich with beautiful architecture and new technology that would attest to our enemy being of a modern civilized culture. These images instead draw on the history of Orientalism, where “the other” is represented as weak, feminine, and arcane, inadvertently manipulating their viewers to believe they are of a superior culture. By presenting these images all together I am asking the viewer to consciously question imagery that is meant to inform them of something they have not experienced.