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Nina Berman is a photographer who uses her camera to grapple with the issue of contemporary warfare. Her work has taken her around the world. For her book, Purple Hearts, Berman traveled across the United States photographing and interviewing soldiers who had been injured in combat. Berman’s contribution to 2010, the Whitney Biennial was an iconic series of photographs from a work entitled Marine Wedding (2006-2008) depicting U.S. Marine Sergeant Ty Ziegel as he adjusts to life after returning home from Iraq.
Working with Berman, YI Writers began the semester developing their own definitions of war, whether it involved conflicts between nations, battles between human beings and nature, or opponents in a board game. Looking at the work of artists such as James Casebere and Zoe Leonard, YI Writers also explored different modes of storytelling and ways of sharing “truth.” Through a generous consignment by Nikon, Inc., YI Writers learned photographic skills on Nikon D5000 digital SLR cameras, and used them to capture and convey their own interpretations of war.