(lens.blogs.nytimes.com)With Pictures by the grant winner Davide Monteleone (“Red Thistle — the Northern Caucasus Journey”)
Some of those photographers have been honored with grants from The Aftermath Project, a nonprofit organization committed to the idea that war is only half the story. Each year, The Aftermath Project awards grants to photographers from around the world who are working to tell what they see as the other half: what happens after years of the bombing and bloodshed come to an end, when refugees return home, rebuild towns and villages, and set out to restore their societies. Many photographers working in postconflict settings believe these stories are every bit as newsworthy as war itself. By distributing their work to artistic, academic and political groups around the country, The Aftermath Project hopes to broaden public understanding of what it calls “the true cost of war – and the real price of peace.”
|$1,300, Davide Monteleone, #2, 18x18 inches|
The Aftermath Project is itself an aftermath of sorts. Ms. Terry, an award-winning correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and a freelance magazine writer, became a photographer in the late 1990s and spent five years documenting life in postconflict Bosnia and Herzegovina. For her, the most important photograph she took during that time showed a forensic anthropologist in white gloves, carefully handling the skeleton of a teenage boy found inside a mass grave of victims of the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica.
“These graves had tried to obliterate evidence of a massacre of 8,000 men and boys,” Ms. Terry said. “But the anthropologists were determined to give them back life by identifying them one at a time, by naming them. I realized I want to be part of the story that says hatred and evil and inhumanity isn’t the final word on who we are.”
Photographers awarded Aftermath Project grants work on stories that focus on how individuals and communities come to terms with the legacy of war: how they remember their dead, search for justice, rebuild civil and political institutions, cope with trauma and find joy. The coming book, “War Is Only Half the Story, Vol. 5,” features the work of the grant winner Davide Monteleone (“Red Thistle — the Northern Caucasus Journey”), and the finalists Elizabeth D. Herman (“Women Warriors: Bangladesh”); Lara Ciarabellini and Massimo Mastrorillo (“Bosnia and Herzegovina — If Chaos Awakens the Madness”); Carlos Javier Ortiz (“Too Young to Die”); and Miquel Dewever-Plana (“Guatemala: The Other War”).
Mr. Monteleone’s photographs explore what daily life looks like in places like Abkhazia and Chechnya; they document the weddings, funerals and sporting events taking place amid an unsteady peace in the Caucasus. Two other photographers, Ms. Ciarabellini and Mr. Mastrorillo, have expanded on Ms. Terry’s work in Bosnia, chronicling the continuing struggle for harmony between previously embattled communities in the former Yugoslavia.
As in past years, the book featuring these stories will be distributed to members of Congress; professors and students in journalism, peace-building and postconflict studies; human rights organizations; and museum curators. A continuing Kickstarter campaign seeks to support the book’s publication (13 days remain), and applications for the next round of grants are due on Nov. 5.
Ultimately, Ms. Terry said, it is a matter of what you choose to shine a light on. Her words echo those of the journalist and media critic Walter Lippmann, who said of the press, “It is like the beam of a searchlight that moves restlessly about, bringing one episode and then another out of darkness into vision.” For The Aftermath Project, both the fighting season and everything that comes afterward deserve to be brought to light.
“Conflict is the story of our inhumanity to each other,” Ms. Terry said. “If those are the stories we keep telling ourselves, what have we become?”
The Aftermath Project’s campaign to raise money to finance its book is here.