Peter van Agtmael: Look at the U.S.A. A Diary of War and Home

“Look at the U.S.A.: A Diary of War and Home” serves as a personal documentation of America post-9/11, both in the midst of conflict abroad and within its own borders. Through a combination of reporting and personal reflection, conveyed through photographs and text, the book captures the significant divisions that have characterized this period, commencing with the Iraq War and concluding with the Taliban assuming control in Afghanistan. Peter van Agtmael embarked on his photographic exploration of America’s involvement in Iraq in 2005, driven by a blend of ideology, uncertainty, ambition, and a profound interest in understanding the dynamics of his society. Challenging the glorification of war and the allure of conflict within the American consciousness, “Look at the U.S.A.” delves into the disconnection between generations engaged in war and the realities faced by those on the home front. It juxtaposes images of American soldiers in combat with the anguish of their families back home and the struggles of the wounded. As the narrative unfolds, the focus broadens to encompass the influence of nationalism, the election of Donald Trump, militarism, and the impact of race and class on American life. Interspersed with van Agtmael’s personal reflections, observations, and encounters with individuals along his journey, the book presents a critical, at times ironic, assessment that positions it as a seminal work in the realm of war photography.

A portrait of Peter van Agtmael by Christian Hansen

About the Author

Peter van Agtmael was born in Washington DC in 1981. He graduated from Yale University with a BA in History in 2003.
Since 2006, his work has largely concentrated on the United States and the post-9/11 wars.
He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the W. Eugene Smith Grant, an ICP Infinity Award, the Aaron Siskind Grant, the Lumix Freelens Award, a Pulitzer Center Grant, a Magnum Foundation Fellowship as well as multiple awards from World Press Photo.
His first book, ‘Disco Night Sept 11,’ on the USA at war in the post-9/11 era was shortlisted for the 2014 Aperture/Paris Photo Book Award and named a ‘Book of the Year’ by The New York Times Magazine, Time, Mother Jones, and Vogue.
His second book, ”Buzzing at the Sill,” about the USA in the shadow of the wars, was shortlisted for the 2017 Rencontres D’Arles Book Award and Kassel Book Award and was named a “Book of the Year” by Time, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, Mother Jones, and Internazionale.
His third book, “Sorry for the War,” about the vast dissonance between the United States at war and the wars themselves is forthcoming in 2020.
Peter is a mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Program, a founder of Red Hook Editions, and a member of Magnum Photos.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson (May 21, 2024)
Language: English
Size: 7.6 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
Weight: 1.74 pounds
ISBN-10: 0500027021
ISBN-13: 978-0500027028

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