Award winning documentary photographer Dima Gavrysh has dedicated the last few years to exploring a different vision of America’s War in Afghanistan. His still photos from the longest running conflict in U.S. history are dark, yet revealing; chilling, yet illuminating.
Besides those fighting and those waiting for their love ones to come home, for most people in this country, the Afghan War is merely an afterthought that is only brought back into our consciousness when a scandal erupts or when watching a fictionalized account in a movie. Gavrysh’s work hopes to remind us that there are soldiers still fighting and dying 7000 miles from home, and asks us to question what is our responsibility to those men and women that have been engaged in this war for 12 years.
His portrait series “Soldiers of Zerok”, is an intimate look at members of U.S. Army’s 3rd Battalion, 509 Infantry Regiment stationed at the Zerok outpost in the East Paktika province near the Pakistan border. Each soldier stares directly into the camera with nothing but darkness surrounding him. The photographs give a foreboding feeling that each man has most likely not been able to avoid since arriving in the country.
Gavrysh’s “Inshallah” presents a different examination of the war. The Afghan landscape plays a major character in this collection, and the dusty, heated atmosphere of the central Asian nation radiates from the photos. The difficult weather mixed with the worn faces of the human subjects is a disheartening reflection of a seemingly unending war- a depiction that was exactly Gavrysh’s intent when capturing those moments.
“There is uneasiness and despair mixed with confusion. No one knows the right way to fight this war and when it is going to end, if ever,” Garvrysh wrote in an essay for burnmagazine.org. “All of it looks like some huge experiment, where a civilization is being pushed forward through warfare. It doesn’t seem to work and yet we try.”
What does seem to work is the Ukrainian born visual artist’s eye for the dramatic and meaningful image. It’s this innate talent that has led Garvysh’s work to be featured in The New York Times, Time, People, and numerous other publications around the world. He has also collaborated on projects with Doctors Without Borders and the United Nations Population Fund.
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Check out the Dima Gavrysh videos installations “My Thesis In 20 Seconds” and “Salerno”: