Our World at War

Recently, the Newseum in Washington, DC opened its doors to members of the media, offering a sneak peak of its newest attraction: “Our World at War.” The photo exhibit is timed with the observation of the 150th anniversary of the Red Cross and the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions.

Amputees play soccer in Liberia. Credit: VII/ICRC.

Amputees play soccer in Liberia. Credit: VII/ICRC.

Sponsored jointly by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the VII photo agency in New York City, the exhibit showcases fifty photos from conflict spots around the world, examining the challenges that individuals face as well as the miraculous ways in which they adapt to hardship. The humanitarian work of the Red Cross Movement is evident in several of the photos, covering subjects as diverse as prosthetic limbs and disaster recovery.

I had the opportunity to speak with Ron Haviv, one of the five contributing photographers to the exhibit, who expressed how important photos could be in mobilizing support and action for otherwise unknown people and challenges. Two of his photos emphasize this power: a photo of mud cakes in Haiti, which impoverished people mix with butter and salt in order to ebb their hunger, and a photo of a young child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who was separated from his parents through conflict and unsure about their whereabouts. The photos were hard to look at, but that was the fundamental point. They make people aware of a world outside of their normal routine.

Visit if you have a chance. The exhibit runs through September on the bottom level of the museum, next to the popular “G-Men” exhibit. While at the Newseum, also visit the permanent photography exhibit on the first floor, which covers Pulitzer Prize-winning photography over the past several decades.

Are you outside of the Washington, D.C. area? View a selection of the photos at the Time website.

Mat Morgan, Washington, DC

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