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Brooks photography exhibition about Iraq war
Nic Rossmüller : November 12th 2006 - 23:44 CET
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NewsBrooks photography exhibition about Iraq war : In 2004, the U.S. Army 425th Civil Affairs Battalion from Santa Barbara was deployed to Iraq. Among those tasked to complete a tour of duty was Jeff DelaCruz, then a student at Brooks Institute of Photography. With active duty status as an Army Civil Affairs sergeant, the new solider had a front-line view of the impact of war and, as photographer, he had the intuition and ability to try and capture it in pictures. DelaCruz, who has returned to Santa Barbara to continue pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Professional Photography, will introduce a retrospective of his time in Iraq, A Soldier’s View: A Pictorial Reflection of the War in Iraq, at the Brooks Institute.
Brooks photography exhibition about Iraq war Iraq war photo exbhibition
Reservations are not required for the exhibit, reception and presentation by DelaCruz, which will take place on Friday, November 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.. The show will remain open through Friday, December 22, 2006. In a mission statement describing his work, DelaCruz states, “This show defines for me those complexities that, as a young soldier in Iraq, range from touching to horrific. It is the aim of this show to compel viewers to examine the complexities that I experienced, not portrayed by the mainstream media, in hopes of placing the viewers’ opinions in a state of reality.”

Jeff DelaCruz Brooks photo exhibition - Viewpoint
During his tour in Iraq, the prolific photographer shot more than 160 rolls of film, visually journaling his experiences. His images run the gamut from optimistic depictions of the rebuilding efforts, to the frightening and demoralized lives of Iraqi people. As a soldier involved in reconstruction projects, DelaCruz had a unique viewpoint on the impact of war on infrastructure, economy and lives young and old. And, as an independent photographer - one not encumbered by the demands of traditional news media - he had the opportunity to catalog and explore real stories on film.

Photography exhibition - Brooks photography institute
“The common thread of my work all leads back to how war has affected both the lives of the Iraqi people and the soldiers who worked with them,” says DelaCruz. It clearly deeply affected him, and it is this feeling that exudes from his well-organized retrospective of black and white photographs. Even in pictures that present a straightforward or positive image - an average Iraqi family standing together in front of a house or a soldier fishing in the tranquil environment of a pond that is part of what were Saddam Hussein’s private hunting grounds, there is a disturbing undercurrent that pervades every photograph.

Brooks institute - Jeff DelaCruz photo exhibition
But, demurs DelaCruz, “The war in Iraq should not be looked at as simply good or bad. It should be seen as a series of constantly evolving in-betweens that can simultaneously be good, bad, beautiful and terrifying.” That said, those to whom he has presented the show have often expressed the same comment about the war, he says. “The comment I get the most is that it the war is sad.” While a student and prior to being called for army service, DelaCruz and a partner owned the Santa Barbara-based commercial photography firm DeLaQuirk Photography. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including GQ, Santa Barbara Magazine, European Kitchen & Bath and CMYK Magazine, and has been purchased by Penguin Books for a book cover.

About Brooks Institute
Brooks Institute offers a Master of Science degree program in Photography; Bachelor of Arts degree programs in Professional Photography, Film & Video Production, Visual Communication and Visual Journalism; an Associate of Arts degree program in Visual Journalism, and diploma programs in Professional Photography and Film & Video Production. Graduates from Brooks have gone on to work for distinguished organizations including National Geographic, Smithsonian, the Los Angeles Times and other national media outlets, Hallmark Publishing, Cousteau Society, HBO, Kodak and literally scores of other leaders in visual media fields.

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