“By using his photographs to draw attention to the suffering that has marked the latest surge in Chechnya’s centuries-long struggle for independence from Russia, Mr. Greene says he believes he has at last given something back.”
Eighty one images and journal entries over the period of 20 trips to Chechnya grace the book. The book is about the death and destruction of an area of the world that has received scant attention here in the US.
“Why? Why? Why am I doing this?” Mr. Greene writes in his journal on Jan. 7, 1995. Three days later, he writes: “Grozny is like visions of a Goya painting, `Disasters of War.’ There are 70 or 80 corpses in the streets of Grozny. It’s wet and cold and I’m here to photograph, but I can’t when I see dogs eating the faces of the dead.” On Jan. 11 he asks: “Why are they bombing civilians? Can’t they see what they’re hitting?”
The article speaks of Greene as a young man who initially lacked focus in life. W. Eugene Smith, the father of the photo essay, apparently lit a fuse in him. It now seems more like a barn fire. Bravo!