As a photojournalist during the Iraq War, assistant professor of journalism Thorne Anderson saw a different side of the conflict than other journalists.
He photographed Iraqi civilians visiting hospitals, going to funerals and experiencing other daily stresses from the war.
Now those pictures — along with the works of his wife, Kael Alford — are part of the exhibition "Eye Level in Iraq: Photographs by Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson," running until June 16 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The Huffington Post website named it one of the top 25 most anticipated exhibitions of 2013, and the exhibition will be featured on PBS NewsHour.
Anderson was not an embedded journalist, although he says that program was important in showing the military actions from the inside. But, he says, "When you're traveling with American soldiers, you don't have access to Iraqis' ordinary lives. You don't have access to civilian casualties. You begin to understand the impact of the war from a different kind of perspective. Even everyday conversations are different. People will talk to you differently if you're not surrounded by soldiers."
The pictures, which are on loan from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, originally appeared in such publications as The New York Times, Time, Newsweek and the Boston Globe, and have been published in the book Unembedded: Four Independent Journalists on the War in Iraq. But viewers get a different experience when they see the photos hanging on the museum wall.
"People engage in that work in a different way than in a magazine," Anderson says. "They spend a lot more time with it. They're not just turning the page."