News

30. November -0001 AFP

   DUBROVNIK, Croatia, Feb 24 (AFP) - A Serb officer hands a bottle of water to a Kosovo Albanian as houses burn in the background. A human gesture, but a horrified look in the eyes of the thirsty old man reveals the horror suffered by ethnic Albanians during Kosovo's 1998-99 conflict.
   Another image shows two Serbs, father and son, posing proudly in front of houses "wounded" by heavy artillery bombardment in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar, the symbol of the country's suffering during the 1991-95 war with rebel Serbs.
   A Serb irregular kicks the head of a dead Muslim woman who has just been executed in the streets of the northeastern Bosnian town of Bijeljina at the outbreak of that country's 1992-95 war.
   These photos, along with many others which speak for thesmelves, are the work of a dozen photographers who covered the conflicts that tore apart the former Yugosalvia in the 1990s.
   They are on display in a center in the southern Croatian town of Dubrovnik which curators hope to turn into the first museum dedicated solely to war photography.
   "I am confident that the Croatian culture ministry will soon accept our proposal and grant us the status of a museum," project chief and war photographer Wade Goddard said.
   The exhibition is titled "Blood and Honey," a translation of the Turkish word Balkan.
   It displays the work of Ron Haviv, Jon Jones, Christopher Morris, Bjorn Larsen, Jan Grarup, Noël Quidu, Darko Bandic, Yannis Behrakis, Srdjan Ilic and Andrew Testa.
   "People will have the opportunity to admire the work of the most famous war photographers but our real goal is to change the Hollywood-style image of the war and to show the cruel reality and horror of conflicts," Goddard explains.
   The gallery, which plans to organize anti-war seminars, will also host exhibitions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the war in Afghanistan and the US-led invasion of Iraq.
   In September the photographers of Agence France-Presse will be featured in an exhibition entitled "10 Years of War".
   Belgian businessmen Frederic Handres, an admirer of the skill and dedication of war photographers, came up with the idea for the museum and has provided all the funding, Goddard added.
   The coastal city of Dubrovnik, a UNESCO world cultural heritage site and Croatia's most famous Adriatic resort which was heavily shelled by the former Yugoslav army, was an easy choice for the location of the gallery.
   So far hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars) have been invested in the future museum, located in the old part of the town, and a website has been set up at www.warphotoltd.com.
   Expensive printing techniques using liqufied charcoal have been used to ensure the highest quality and survivability of the images, which are expected to last at least 100 years.
   "The effect should encourage visitors to communicate between themselves. We don't want to be a museum in the classic sense," Goddard said.
   Signed photos are on sale for prices from 800 and 1,800 euros (1,000-2,300 dollars), and while they are not cheap many have already sold to a variety of buyers including an "American involved in NATO enlargment who was familiar with the region", Goddard said.
   "The money has been reinvested into the museum," he added.

Correction.

War Photo Limited plans to become a Museum, there is no fixed date as to when and if we become a Museum, We will open the center officially in June 2004.

bal=honey and kan= blood
balkan means mountain in turkish.

Our current exhibit "A Decade of War" is a group exhibit, which features Ron Haviv's "Blood and Honey" exhibit


Wade Goddard

30. November -0001 Dubrovnik photo exhibition dashes war's euphemisms

DUBROVNIK, Croatia, June 2 (Reuters) - Stark images by some of the world's best war photographers went on permanent display this week in Dubrovnik, stripping away Hollywood's gloss on war and the euphemisms of leaders who try to sanitise it.

The War Photo exhibition is a vision of human conflict in the modern age that early visitors have called powerful, painful, beautiful, brutal, courageous and indispensable.

It focuses on the 1990s wars that devastated Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo as former Yugoslavia was rent apart, stunning complacent Europe with its worst conflict since World War Two.

This medieval fortress port -- whose architectural gems Serb forces shelled from the hills in 1991 -- became an icon of Croatia's war of secession, though more blood was spilt elsewhere.

War Photo aims to become a must-see for foreign tourists now thronging here, says New Zealand-born organiser Wade Goddard. Restoration may have smoothed over much of the damage but the exhibition brings home to visitors the awful cost of war.

"Initially when I came to the Balkans it was a mission to try to prevent atrocities from occurring, to inform, to educate not only the citizens of the world but the politicians," said Ron Haviv, 38, a Newsweek photographer from New York.

Progress is slow, he acknowledged. He has covered well over a dozen conflicts since 1991, with no sign of any let-up.

"Either you give up and don't do it and let people just go about their business and think war is easy and nobody really dies...or myself and my colleagues keep trying," said Haviv, whose "Blood and Honey" collection heads that of 10 contemporaries from the world's small corps of dedicated war photographers.

The images include child corpses chillingly captured by Christopher Morris, Haviv's colleague in their new Paris-based VII Agency, and a shot by Jon Jones of Dubrovnik in flames.

HOW IT ONCE WAS

Dubrovnik's timeless blend of sea, sun and charming marbled alleys smoothed by centuries of feet is "the Mediterranean as it once was", to quote the tourism slogan Croatia is using to lure tourists back to a spectacular coast they fled during war.

The images also show "how it once was" here not so long ago. They hang in a three-storey Dalmatian building of hand-hewn beams and cut stone, an ironmonger's warehouse bought by the project originator, Belgian entrepreneur Frederic Hanrez.

Among the traditional prints, plasma screens let visitors watch high-resolution slide shows of war's tender quirks and vicious banalities, as seen through the unique eye of Reuters' Yannis Behrakis, and Jan Grarup's unforgiving black-and-white lens.

"What's most striking is the similarities between wars rather than differences," said Haviv.

"If you change names and places, the rhetoric always sounds the same (and) the results are, tragically, quite often the same. Mostly it's the innocent civilians that are suffering." Some red-eyed visitors end up using tissues discreetly on hand at Goddard's reception desk. Their written comments reflect shocked praise and appeals that "it may never happen again".

Goddard said most were grateful to see the realities of war instead of "the 15 seconds of newsreel they have on the television about the glory of killing the bad guy".

"Our idea is to have at least one major exhibition every summer concerning a different war," he added, which would run alongside the permanent display.

With current events in Afghanistan and Iraq, to name but two of around two dozen current conflicts, that will not be hard.

30. November -0001 LE MONDE

LE MONDE | 21.08.04 |

Au bord de l'Adriatique, la mémoire des images des guerres de notre temps

En Croatie s'ouvre le premier musée consacré a la photographie des conflits armés.

Dubrovnik (Croatie) de notre envoyé spécial

C'est dans une maison d'Antuninska, étroite ruelle au coeur de la forteresse de Dubrovnik, que le musée War Photo Limited a ouvert ses portes, avec une ambition : raconter la guerre en images.

War Photo Limited est né de la rencontre entre deux hommes, deux amoureux de la Croatie et de la photographie : un millionnaire belge passionné d'art, Frédéric Hanrez, 40 ans, et un photographe néo-zélandais, Wade Goddard, 34 ans, aujourd'hui propriétaire et directeur du musée.

Le premier débarqué dans les Balkans, c'est Wade Goddard. Electricien sur des lignes a haute tension en Nouvelle-Zélande, il arrive a Mostar en guerre en 1992, "comme un idiot, avec deux boîtiers", dit-il, pour se lancer dans le photojournalisme. Durant sept ans, Goddard documente les conflits de Bosnie-Herzégovine et du Kosovo pour l'agence Sygma, avant de s'installer a Zagreb pour une histoire d'amour. La, il décide que c'en est fini avec la guerre. "Mes amis sont partis couvrir d'autres points chauds. Moi, ma fille venait de naître. Je ne voulais pas aller en Afghanistan." Fred Hanrez arrive pour sa part a Dubrovnik en 1993, tandis que la ville panse encore ses plaies. Descendant d'une famille d'artistes, de marchands d'art et de mécanes, enrichi au gré de ses pérégrinations (import-export de chaussures, immobilier, restaurant a Barcelone, aujourd'hui gaz en Indonésie et discothaque a Bruxelles), Fred Hanrez achete des maisons dans le vieux Dubrovnik, et cherche une idée...

"C'est ici, au café Festival, que j'ai eu l'idée d'un musée de la photographie de guerre contemporaine, se souvient Fred Hanrez. D'une part parce que j'ai toujours aimé l'art, et d'autre part parce que je connaissais Wade et d'autres photographes de guerre. Et puis, je crois que l'important dans la vie, c'est de donner. Je crois au mécénat. Je ne donne rien a la Croix-Rouge mais je claque mon fric dans un musée, un lieu dont je veux qu'il devienne éducatif."

Fred Hanrez veut faire de War Photo Limited "l'endroit incontournable de la photographie de guerre dans le monde d'ici dixa vingt ans", un musée ou "les photographes de guerre contemporains peuvent s'exprimer sans aucune contrainte". La structure ne se contentera pas d'exposer les photographes mais les aidera a financer leurs tirages, livres, ouvres multimédias. Et Hanrez veut par ailleurs, "a raison d'une centaine de photos par an", constituer "une collection unique que nous serons fiers d'exposer a New York ou Paris". Il achete des images aux photographes exposant rue Antuninska et a d'autres. Sa collection sera datée historiquement : elle commencera aux alentours de 1990, avec les conflits yougoslaves. Je veux etre contemporain. Je veux découvrir des talents. Et je veux raconter une histoire, celle du monde dans lequel je vis."

Apres une discrete mise en route, les deux salles d'exposition de War Photo Limited ont ouvert officiellement le 1er juin. Les deux expositions qui se relaient cette année, "A Decade of War" (Une décennie de guerre en ex-Yougoslavie) et "War : USA-Afghanistan-Iraq", de l'agence VII, correspondent a ce choix, couvrant le temps qui va de Vukovar en 1991 jusqu'a Bagdad en 2003.

"A Decade of War", qui sera a nouveau accroché a partir du 20 septembre, réunit dix photographes : une salle accueille Ron Haviv et son exposition personnelle Blood and Honey ; l'autre salle expose Darko Bandic, Yannis Behrakis, Jan Grarup, Srdjan Ilic, Jon Jones, Claus Bjorn Larsen, Christopher Morris, Noël Quidu et Andrew Testa.

Jusqu'au 17 septembre, on peut voir l'exposition de l'agence VII inspirée du livre War : USA-Afghanistan-Iraq (éd. de MO, 2003), qui réunit des tirages de Christopher Anderson, Alexandra Boulat, Lauren Greenfield, Ron Haviv, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Christopher Morris, James Nachtwey et John Stanmeyer.

"LA GUERRE N'EST JAMAIS JOLIE"

Mais War Photo Limited ne se contente pas d'accrocher les images. Pour accompagner A Decade of War, des photographes (Chris Morris, avec une collection d'une violence extreme, ou Noël Quidu) ont choisi de projeter leurs images de dix années de conflits balkaniques. Le cinéma présente une ouvre de Ron Haviv melant photo et son sur les trois semaines d'offensive américaine en Irak, dont le public affirme sortir abasourdi, tandis que d'autres écrans montrent le travail d'Alexandra Boulat a Bagdad, ou La Bataille pour le pont de Diyala, photographiée au plus pres par Gary Knight. Et le musée sert aussi d'agent pour les photographes, vendant leurs tirages a Dubrovnik et sur Internet.

Fred Hanrez a, outre son ambition de collectionneur d'art, deux préoccupations : "la liberté du photographe" et "l'envie de toucher un public occidental qui se croit souvent a l'abri de la guerre". Wade Goddard tient pour sa part un discours pacifiste : "War Photo Limited veut adresser le message que la guerre ne mérite jamais d'etre faite, qu'elle n'est jamais ni propre ni jolie, mais sale et impardonnable. Je veux montrer au public ce qu'il ne voit pas dans la presse, les photographies les plus dures. Et ici, les photographes ne dépendent pas d'un journal ou d'un éditeur, ils s'adressent directement aux gens."

War Photo Limited accueille ceux qui viennent a Dubrovnik pour la plage et les calamars grillés, et qui découvrent les guerres de ce monde. "Dubrovnik est un lieu idéal, dit Wade Goddard, parce qu'il y a eu en ex-Yougoslavie le pire conflit européen depuis la seconde guerre mondiale, mais aussi parce que nous pouvons toucher des centaines de milliers de gens venus de tous horizons."

C'est la photographie de guerre a portée de tous, présentée par ses auteurs. Les photographes de guerre, de plus en plus déçus par la presse illustrée, souvent amers par rapport a la présentation de leurs images, se pressent d'ailleurs d'évoquer leurs désirs avec Hanrez et Goddard.

Rémy Ourdan
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