This month we feature a Q&A with Wade Goddard, curator of War Photo Limited, a new museum of war photography located in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
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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.
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
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.