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The Matter of War

On the front lines in Ukraine

It has always been difficult to parse the experience of war. Following two decades of “forever wars” in the Middle East and an accompanying surfeit of information, that challenge has deepened for reporters. Yet the artful, mournful, and devastating images photojournalist Nicole Tung has sent back from Ukraine can break through the din of struggle—if you simply take the time to look closely. Tung, who has shot four photo essays for Harper’s Magazine—two in print, and two online—joins web editor Violet Lucca to discuss representation’s ethical complexity. How can an outsider portray a conflict they aren’t part of? How can difficult images preserve respect for those involved? When does bracing shock become deadening sensationalism? And how has Tung’s experience in war zones informed her balance of art and journalism?

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April 2022

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