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Cronkite School to Exhibit Iraq, Afghanistan War Photos

March 25, 2015

 Conflict Zone
More than 30 combat photos will be on display at the Cronkite School as part of the national Conflict Zone exhibit, including this image from Afghanistan shot by Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Ortiz.

Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will display a national exhibition of photographs from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars that will include a discussion by one of the featured photographers.

“Conflict Zone,” showcasing dozens of images captured from the front lines, opens Friday, March 27, in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. The weeklong public display includes a discussion by combat photographer Bill Putnam on Monday, March 30, at 7 p.m.

The traveling exhibit highlights the work of numerous photographers, including Putnam as well as Chris Hondros, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated photojournalist who was killed while covering the Libyan Civil War in 2011. The exhibition features a variety of photographs showing what soldiers and journalists experience, ranging from turbulent battle scenes to intimate moments of everyday life.

“The ‘Conflict Zone’ exhibition offers the public a rare opportunity to get a glimpse of the emotional toll of war through the lenses of some of the best combat photographers,” said Cronkite Associate Dean Kristin Gilger. “We are excited to hear from Bill Putnam, a tremendous photojournalist who has captured powerful images from around the world.”

Putnam, whose photos have appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek, among others, will discuss his experiences and work in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Province during his talk. Putnam said his work has concentrated on the mental, physical and political cost of war.

“‘Conflict Zone’ is a unique show. It’s a global show with American, British and Iraqi photojournalists,” said Putnam, a U.S. Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq and Kosovo. “It shows that whilst the roles of a journalist and soldier on the battlefield are different, they're both affected by things they see on the battlefield.”

Putnam’s talk is part of the Cronkite School’s weekly “Must See Mondays” lecture series, a free public event in which leading journalists and communicators share their experiences and expertise with ASU students and the community.

Marine veteran Steve Danyluk and former Washington Post correspondent Jackie Spinner created “Conflict Zone” to help photographer João Silva, who lost both of his legs after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan while on assignment for The New York Times in 2010. The exhibit has traveled to numerous cities, including New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., generating critical acclaim and support for The Independence Fund, a volunteer nonprofit dedicated to serving the severely injured after they return home from war. Danyluk is executive editor of The Independence Fund, which sponsors the exhibit.

“This is really a unique opportunity for people to see work from both civilian and military photographers all in one place,” said Spinner, now a journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago. “The exhibit is apolitical, as the best conflict journalism should be. It exists simply to show people what war looks like from the perspective of those of us who were there to document it.”

The “Conflict Zone” exhibit is at the Cronkite School from March 27 to April 3. It is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the First Amendment Forum, located on the second floor of the Cronkite School. Putnam’s hourlong talk also is located in the First Amendment Forum.