Elizabeth D. Herman
War is an ugly, cruel affair that has been endlessly discussed, contested, advocated, and above all, documented. From the earliest staged Civil War battle scenes to the barrage of images depicting the war in Afghanistan in recent years, photographers have walked alongside soldiers and victims alike, painting the romance and ravages of war as they document the conquerors and the victims, the battle scenes and the aftermath of destruction. War photography often resorts in shouting the cruelties of war, forcing its audience to visually confront its horrors. The resulting images, bluntly exposing the face of war, may disgust and shock, but the viewer must struggle to relate, much less engage with its content.
American photographer and Fulbright scholar Elizabeth D. Herman joins the long-standing practice of war photography with her work, “A Womans’ War", focusing on the experience of women in war. Though traditionally depicted as victims in the narrative of war, Herman's female subjects have served active roles in recent conflicts around the world, as fighters, demonstrators, peace builders. Since ceasefire, they have not only had to navigate the burden of post-conflict trauma, but have also been forced to fight for basic rights and recognition, while expected to fulfill their "traditional" roles of reconstructing a sense of normalcy for their families’ lives and help shape the next generation.
Herman’s subjects have harrowing stories; they may have fought, killed, assassinated, as well as suffered untold horrors themselves. However, her photographs do not depict the acts or the cruelty of war, but rather offer an intimate gaze upon some of its least acknowledged participants, with all their intricacies and within the context of being first and foremost, human. After all, war is not declared in a void, it is effected by and affects individual people.
A Woman’s War by Elizabeth D. Herman
November 7th until December 1st
United Photo Industries
111 Front Street, Suite 204
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
Mon/Fri: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Weekends by appointment