BERLIN (AP) — An Afghan boy on a swing ride with a toy submachine gun in his hand. A black-clad Iraqi mother giving a bottle to her baby daughter outside Abu Ghraib prison as she waits for the release of detainees. A U.S. Marine mourning the loss of 31 comrades in Iraq.
The powerful images are among some 40 black-and-white photographs by Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus from conflict zones around the world presented to journalists Friday at the Berlin gallery C/O Berlin.
The exhibition "At War," co-sponsored by The Associated Press and the Deutsche Boerse Group, runs in the German capital from Saturday through Dec. 10 before moving in early 2012 to the Deutsche Boerse headquarters in Eschborn, near Frankfurt.
Niedringhaus, 45, took the pictures during tours in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Gaza and the West Bank during a 20-year stretch covering war zones, beginning with the Balkans in the 1990s.
"Once you start something like this, you should also bring it to an end," Niedringhaus told reporters in Berlin on Friday, adding that she never tires of her work as a photojournalist, even if it is physically exhausting and emotionally draining.
"Sometimes I feel bad because I can always leave the conflict, go back home to my family where there's no war," she said. "That's why I always try to go back and cover the conflict from beginning to end."
The exhibition focuses on individuals in the midst of crisis and gives a face to their suffering, strife and exhaustion. The photos capture the horror of war, but also unexpected moments of joy experienced by the people in the middle of the many conflicts following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.
Niedringhaus trains her camera on children who are caught between the front lines, yet still find a niche to play. She singles out soldiers from the masses as they are confronted with death, injuries and enemies' attacks.
"In these days of mass media, instant Internet gratification and image saturation, it is a refreshing privilege to have the opportunity to pause in front of these prints and absorb the images at our leisure," AP Director of Photography Santiago Lyon said in a written statement.
Niedringhaus, who also covers sports events around the globe, has received numerous awards for her works. She was part of an AP team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography for coverage of the war in Iraq, and was awarded the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women's Media Foundation. She joined the AP in 2002 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
A catalog of the show is available in English and German at the museum.