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An-My Lê, 29 Palms: Captain Folsom, 2003-2004, Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund

An-My Lê

29 Palms: Captain Folsom

An-My Lê
Vietnamese, b. 1960
29 Palms: Captain Folsom
Gelatin silver print
Frame: 66 x 95.3 cm (26 x 37 1/2 inches)
Helen M. Danforth Acquisition Fund 2007.7.2

What appears to be a rare image of American soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq is, in fact, a view of Marines training for deployment at 29 Palms, the California desert Marine base. Denied permission to be embedded with the troops abroad, Lê created a provocative body of work by photographing the staged battles of recruits. She worked with a large-format camera to shoot highly detailed, subtly nuanced images, such as this one of Captain Folsom and his squad. Although she witnessed war as a teenager in Saigon, her pictures are surprisingly nonjudgmental.

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