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Peter van Agtmael Named Winner of W. Eugene Smith Fund Grant

© PETER VAN AGTMAEL/MAGNUM PHOTOS Pech Valley, Kunar Province. Afghanistan. 2007. "A number of strays hung around Patrol Base California, waiting for food and company. Usually the soldiers welcomed them. But I was told that a few weeks earlier, when one of the dogs urinated on a soldier’s cot, he and his buddies shot the dog to pieces."

On October 17th, it was announced that Peter Van Agtmael had won the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant for Humanistic Photography. The photographer who plies his trade in Brooklyn for Magnum Photos, was given the award for his project, 'Disco Night September 11,' which explores the affects of the wars initiated by the U.S. on the lives of people in Afganistan, Iraq, and the Middle East (among others) in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Van Agtael vowed in his acceptance speech to use the grant money to continue working on his project despite the fact that, according to Jury chair Lauren Wendle, he "recognizes that his perspective has been limited, because it is solely an American’s perspective." The photographer added that he intends to return to Afganistan and Iraq in order to produce a multimedia piece for the proposed 2014 withdrawl of U.S. troops from Afganistan. “As an American of the generation shouldering these wars, I feel a strong responsibility to document their cost,” said Van Agtmael.

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To learn more about the man behind the fund, NYIP grad W. Eugene Smith, click the link to our article Famous Alum: W. Eugene Smith.

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