In February, 2003, when war with Iraq moved from a distant possibility to an imminent reality, many people wondered what George Bush knew that a majority of the countries in the United Nations didn't. While America sat on the brink of an unprovoked war whose purpose was debated daily, many of us shook our heads, defiant that our president would never attack a nation based on hearsay as opposed to hard evidence. If nothing else, lessons from past wars taught us about forcing ourselves into other cultures and people with an unjustified agenda. But February moved forward and with it, the seeds for the exhibition "Killer Shots," were planted.
"Killer Shots" begins with images from The Vietnam War, often referred to as the first picture war, setting the photographic yardstick for photographers who risk their lives showing the atrocity of human violence. The exhibition "Killer Shots" references and includes two infamous images: a South Vietnamese police commander executing a Vietcong terrorist on the streets of Saigon during the 1968 Tet offensive, photographed by Eddie Adams, and Kim Phuc running down a napalm bombed street near Trang Bang by Nick Ut. These two photographs are imbedded in our visual memory -- part of the visual history of war -- and act as the springboard for "Killer Shots," which brings together images of war, forcing us to examine what we've learned about war and mankind over the past thirty years.
From Vietnam to El Salvador, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Chile, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Zaire to September 11th, we have been inundated with images in newspapers and on television of war and the destruction it brings. A disintegrating corpse rests on a hilltop in Nicaragua (Susan Meiselas); an exhausted worker slumps in the oil fields of Kuwait (Sebastiao Salgado); a mother feeds her infant as the New York skyline smolders from the destruction of two huge towers (Alex Webb); a wide eyed Afghan girl stares intently into the camera, hardened beyond her teenage years (Steve McCurry). a shell shocked marine stares blankly into the camera (Don McCullin). These are powerful photographs which reveal the effects of war, minutes and years after blood is shed. While regimes may change and the pursuit of democracy may be noble, we must ultimately find better means of communicating to avoid wars and their lingering effects. "Killer Shots" seeks to reveal photographic truths about war, the human spirit and our sense of morality.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of all photographs will be donated to The Red Cross. There will also be donation envelopes available at the gallery for the public.