The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma is hosting the renowned combat multimedia exhibit, “Conflict Zone.” The exhibit is part of the fall 2014 presidential dream course “Chronicling America’s Wars,” taught by Professor John Schmeltzer and veteran broadcaster and war correspondent Mike Boettcher.
Conflict Zone showcases intimate images of war, taken by some of the world’s most celebrated combat journalists and photographers. The exhibit is a project of the Independence Fund, a non-profit organization focused on helping severely disabled veterans achieve mental and physical health. The organization is the brainchild of Marine combat veteran Steve “Lurker” Danyluk.
Lurker and former Washington Post correspondent Jackie Spinner were inspired to create Conflict Zone by New York Times photographer Joao Silva, who lost both legs in an October 2010 landmine blast in Afghanistan.
“Journalists who act as the eyes and ears for the American public on the frontline of battlefields are only interested in one thing: making sure their stories are heard,” says Spinner, who spoke to OU students last week. “Conflict Zone is a way to do that.
“The exhibit is not political. It simply brings the viewers to the battlefield and to the markets and to the soccer fields to see what we do when we cover war. They are horrific images and also images of great joy because you find both in war. We are honored that the Gaylord College hosted us, to help us tell our stories.”
Lurker and Spinner contacted combat photographers they knew from Iraq and Afghanistan to populate the collection, and the response was overwhelming. Both military and civilian journalists volunteered work that had originally appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and Getty Images, among others.
The exhibit, in its current form, is dedicated to Chris Hondros, one of the biggest supporters of Conflict Zone and a photographer featured in the exhibit. Hondros was killed in a mortar attack while covering the Libyan civil war in April 2011.
Conflict Zone will be available for viewing through 2 p.m., Dec. 9 in the Hall of Fame Room on the first floor of Gaylord Hall on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus. The exhibit is open and free to the public and will be available when Gaylord Hall is open.
For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact Gaylord College at (405) 325-2721.