September 29, 2013

Andrea Bruce and the Paradox That's Damascus

On the one hand, it’s not exactly pc to bestow credit to a conflict photographer for her gender. Not when the field has been so male dominated and we should expect parity. At the same time, I’m wondering how many men could have opened the window Andrea Bruce does, the way she captures the underlying tension and stress in the social fabric of Damascus. Do absorb the atmospheric quality of the 11 photos in this NYT photo gallery. While many of the images (particularly #2, 4 and 9) are distinguished for the quality of pensiveness, the others (#3, and 5-8 especially) capture the normality of domestic life these days as an escalating paradox.

In the two samples here, speaking of those different qualities, the upward eyes and the long exhale of smoke meet the swimming lessons and the gaze of the girl entranced.

(photos: Andrea Bruce for The New York Times. caption 1: At the Nufara cafe, a favorite spot in the Old City, a group of teenagers barely looked up from their coffee and water pipes one recent night as half a dozen artillery shells crashed down not far away. caption 2: Children took swimming lessons at the Sheraton Damascus Hotel. There is a sense in the capital that the civil war will continue, perhaps for years, making the country’s rifts progressively harder to heal.)

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Michael Shaw
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