Looking at You Looking at Me

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Since the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq began, the nature and meaning of war photography have dramatically changed. With so many soldiers disseminating digital images, the major news media outlets are no longer necessarily the most useful source for visual information. Camera/Iraq, a project of Ratchet Up and the Carleton College Cinema and Media Studies Department, is the newest to attempt to make sense of images of the occupation. Addressing everything from the depictions of the Abu Ghraib torture to the televised U.S. congressional hearings to the censored videos of American soldiers' coffins to photographic technique, it's a forum for posting links, essays, thoughts, and pictures. Camera/Iraq turns the democratization of the image on its head by forcing participants to view thoughtfully and carefully, recognizing the ever-generating connections and growing masses of data surrounding even the least seemingly volatile images. Multiplying the connections among media, military action, participation, spectatorship, technology, and violence, the weblog does the important work of acting on the images that have themselves generated such energy around the world. - Christine Smallwood