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Enduring Freedom: Eugene Richards


Photographic Center Northwest Capitol Hill
Mondays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Nov. 13 2016


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The name of this exhibition is Enduring Freedom, which can be taken two ways in the context of these two groups of photographs—one from the September 11 attacks and their immediate aftermath in the memorial-strewn streets, and the other from the effects of the war in Iraq that has followed. Juxtaposed, the idea that freedom proudly endures turns to the grim reality that freedoms for some have been made to require terrible endurance from others. The pictures that Eugene Richards made of September 11 are full of other pictures—pictures of the dead and the missing. Richards deliberately acknowledges a difficulty in getting close to the thing itself, or knowing just what "the thing itself" would be. Buildings burning, bodies falling, ash-covered runners, fences plastered with memorials and the portraits of missing people, the remaining family members steeling themselves through funeral after funeral. All these became stock images. They appear in place of what disappeared. So how do you picture September 11? Obliquely, Richards would seem to say. Delicately. In layers. The second series of photographs—the war pictures—feel full of rage, but not in the depictions themselves. Richards pictures bodies fighting, but not violently, not against each other. They're fighting to stay alive and to stick together. A mother hugs her son, a veteran who is missing most of his head but still standing. There is a father playing with his baby, who cannot yet understand why his father has a cold metal hand. The baby laughs. There are people saying goodbye before deployment, and celebrating upon return. The series is titled War Is Personal. That son, that father, his mother, and his baby appear in every shade between black and white, but I get the feeling—and I could be wrong—that Richards has pretty much made up his mind about whether the war in Iraq is unjust. The war inside these bodies answers that question. We do have a war happening on our soil. JEN GRAVES

Photographic Center Northwest

900 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Hours: Mon-Thurs,Sat-Sun

Venue Hours
  • Mon-Thurs,Sat-Sun
Event Times
This event is in the past.
  • Mondays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Nov. 13 2016