War, through the lens

The photographs tell the stories of war. Not just the battles, but the stories of the soldiers, the children and the ordinary people who those conflicts impact. In the end, the exhibit can even help those whose lives will never be the same because of war.

"Conflict Zone" is a collection of photographs that detail the combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exhibit will be on display through Friday at the Loft in Beaufort's City Hall.

The exhibit came about after New York Times photographer Joao Silva lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in October 2010.

More than 40 photographs are on display in Beaufort from dozens of civilian and military war photographers, including Chris Hondros, the Getty Images photographer who died on assignment in Libya in April 2011.

The exhibit is part of a collection of more than 300 photographs that have been curated in less than a year, said co-organizer Jackie Spinner, a journalism professor and former Washington Post writer.

"There's a lot of amazing scenes of life," she said. "There's a lot of life happening outside the battlefield. You get an idea of what it means to live in a war zone."

The proceeds of the exhibit will be donated to a fund to help Silva and to veterans organizations the Fisher House Foundation and The Independence Fund, the nonprofit group that puts on Beaufort's Lt. Dan Weekend and also created "Conflict Zone."

Kathleen Flynn, who has photographed in Afghanistan, got involved through a Scripps Howard editor who saw her work. She will help teach a photojournalism workshop for veterans in Beaufort while the exhibit is going on.

"Supporting Joao and injured service men and women through photography is powerful on several levels. It gives them some financial support while highlighting the importance of conflict photography," she wrote in an email.

"Joao has spent the last 20-plus years helping us make sense of some of the most difficult issues of our time, in many instances putting himself in harm's way. I was actually in Kabul when he was hit in Kandahar, and I had been in Kandahar just a few weeks before. That was my first trip to Afghanistan. It really hit home."

Just as the photos themselves suggest, the exhibit also serves as a reminder that everyone involved around war is affected -- even those just there to capture it.

"You're on a battlefield whether you're carrying a weapon or a camera," Spinner said.