Thomas Dworzak (Magnum) was embedded with a US medical corps in Iraq in 2005. His images of soldiers at work and play, from mess rooms to operating rooms and out in the field, are juxtaposed with stills from the 70s TV series M*A*S*H. Together they reveal the parallels of life at war, unchanged over the decades, the mad mixed with the small moments of sanity, that evolve from living in conflict, from Korea to Iraq.
"If it weren't for the war, we'd all be having a great time." Taken from the series M*A*S*H, 1970.
First seen in the early 1970s at the height of anti-Vietnam feeling in America, the original series M*A*S*H followed a hapless US medical corps stationed out in the preceding Korean war. Here underlay a dark commentary throughout its comedy. As the US Military continue to fight onwards in Iraq, doctors, nurses and medics are working on the front lines to keep their casualties down. Magnum Photographer Thomas Dworzak was with them, embedded with the 44th Medcoms 50th and 1150th Medical Companies in Iraq over several periods in 2005. Taking the lead from the satirical commentary first provided by the film and subsequent series of M*A*S*H, this book juxtaposes images from the series with Dworzak's own from his time with the medical companies he was stationed with out in Iraq.
From mess tents to surgical tables, the story of everyday life behind the scenes of these medical corps shows at times a pathos and comradeship alongside the expected blood and suffering. The accompanying stills and subtitled images from M*A*S*H bring Dworzak's photographs out of the realm of the purely photojournalistic, and instead poignantly provide a black humour for a disenchanted audience of the modern world, and a comment on the concept of photographers today working embedded and alongside the military.
Directly related titles or series: Taliban (Trolley, 2003) Thomas Dworzak. UK sales to date 5000+.
There was an exhibition of M*A*S*H at the Goethe Institute, New York from May 3rd - June 30th 2007.
On Magnum in Motion, the online multi-media section of Magnum Photos, can be seen the edited essay <a href="http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/mashiraq">M*A*S*H Iraq</a>
In 2002 Dworzak became a Magnum nominee, in 2004 a member. He is based in Paris and New York and contributes to Time Magazine, Newsweek, The New Yorker, US News, Paris Match and The New York Times Magazine.