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Homeland: Images of Post-9-11 America
These photographs were made between 2001 and 2008 and were taken all across the United States. The title of the exhibit comes from former President George W. Bush, who introduced the word “homeland” shortly after September 11. Previously unfamiliar in American speech, the word sounded both sinister and soothing filled with ideological import of mysterious origin. Was it British, or maybe Nazi Germany? Or was the word drawn from fiction, a made-up world existing in a fairytale? Click arrow on left or right side to see more images.
Photo by Nina Berman
Photo by Nina Berman
Homeland: Images of Post-9-11 America
In Berman's photographs, Homeland is where Air Force bombers entertain sunbathers on summer weekends; happy families step through the suburbs clutching anti-nuke pills; small town police train to hunt terrorists; evangelical Christians dress in Afghan burqas; senior citizens become extras in a War On Terror script; and military recruitment spectacles transform children into would-be killers.

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Photo by Nina Berman
Photo by Nina Berman
Homeland: Images of Post-9-11 America
All across the country there are frequent simulation drills costing millions of dollars and involving thousands of participants where various war scenarios are imagined: Islamic terrorists with nuclear bombs, Islamic terrorists hijacking airplanes, bioterrorists, chemical terrorists, school bus terrorists and shopping mall terrorists. There is even a camp for wayward youth to help them learn how to respond to terrorists.

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Photo by Nina Berman
Photo by Nina Berman
Homeland: Images of Post-9-11 America
Some of these events have the look and feel of state-sponsored performance art, where realism is replaced by theater, giving participants a powerful sense of identity and value through militarized experience. It is this identity and the ambiguity between real and made-up, so emblematic of post 9-11 discourse, that interests me most.



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Photo by Nina Berman
Photo by Nina Berman
Homeland: Images of Post-9-11 America
Berman longed for a speaker—other than our elected officials—who exemplified this certainty, and so she created one. The narrator of Homeland is a fictional creation drawn from real life conversations she had with people she photographed or spoke with, details of scenes she witnessed, news reports and on a few occasions, her own musings. To some, the narrator will seem over the top and not to be believed. Berman urges the viewer to consider a different interpretation.
Last image in slideshow.
Photo by Nina Berman
Photo by Nina Berman

Homeland: Images of Post-9-11 America

February 12–May 2, 2009

About the photographer
Nina Berman is a documentary photographer with a primary interest in the American political and social landscape. Her work has been extensively published, exhibited and collected, garnering praise in both the art and journalism communities with awards from the World Press Photo Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Open Society Institute documentary photography fund. Her first monograph, "Purple Hearts — Back From Iraq" a collection of portraits and interviews with U.S. soldiers wounded in the war, was published by Trolley in 2004 and received wide acclaim. The book was made into a feature length documentary film by the same name and screened worldwide. Her work on wounded veterans has continued and her 2006 "Marine Wedding" portrait, which shows a severely disfigured marine with his young bride on their wedding day, is considered to be an iconic image of life during wartime. Her work has been the subject of several solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums in New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., and throughout Europe. She is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography in her hometown of New York City.

Press about the Exhibition:

  • Newcity Art—In a most grisly and brightly colored photo-documentary about how the United States
    has been turned into a playground for anti-terrorist...