Victor J. Blue
Apr 13, 2019 | 7pm
364 E. 151st Street, Bronx, NY 10451
Exhibiting photographer Victor J. Blue discusses the process behind the making of his panoramic photographs of the destroyed cities of Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq.
Over the course of the four-year campaign against the Islamic State, the US-led coalition conducted 14,638 airstrikes in Iraq and 16,864 airstrikes in Syria, the bulk of which fell on Mosul and Raqqa, the twin capitals of the ISIS caliphate. The cities were leveled in the fight to liberate them from their captors. A year after the bombing stopped and the fighters were routed, Raqqa and the Old City of Mosul still lie in ruins.
No comprehensive reconstruction plan exists; the viability of both cities remains in doubt. The cities’ destruction begs the question: what was the cost of the West’s war against extremism if the battlegrounds remain permanently uninhabitable? Life in Raqqa and Mosul is frozen at a moment just after the last bombs fell, the fires went out, and the US-led coalition declared victory and moved on. But the civilians of Mosul and Raqqa are left to consider the scale of the destruction, and the reality that they have been forgotten.
This event is held in conjunction with the exhibition Cities in Dust: Victor J. Blue on view at the BDC Annex from April 4-21, 2019.
VICTOR J. BLUE is a New York based photojournalist whose work is most often concerned with the legacy of armed conflict, human rights and the protection of civilian populations, and unequal outcomes resulting from policy and politics. He has worked in Central America since 2002, concentrating on social conflict in Guatemala, and since 2009 has photographed the Counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan. He has completed assignments in Syria, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Iraq, and India, and has documented news stories and social issues across the United States.
He worked as a staff photographer at The Record in Stockton CA, and holds a Masters Degree in Visual Communication from Ohio University. He practices a deeply reported, character driven documentary photography that tries to both inform viewers intellectually and move them emotionally, and communicate something universal from the particular circumstances of individual lives and struggles. His photographs have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harpers Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, Sports Illustrated, USAToday, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, The San Francisco Chronicle and on The Discovery Channel and The History Channel. He has shown photographs in exhibitions at the Powerhouse Gallery in New York City, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and at 111 Minna Gallery and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. His work has been supported by grants from the NPPA and Ohio University. In 2012 Parlay, his project on his Grandfather, was awarded in the Pictures of the Year International and the NPPA Best of Photojournalism competitions. In 2010, 2011, and 2015 his work in Afghanistan was honored in Pictures of the Year International. In 2017 he garnered three awards in the Pictures of the Year International.
HEADER: © Ross McDonell
PHOTO: Devastation surrounds the Al Nouri Mosque, famous as the site where ISIS declared it's caliphate, in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Monday November 5, 2018. © Victor J. Blue