Born Into War – Peter Masters Iraq Frontline Photographry Exhibition @ Skinzophrenic Hereford

Peter Masters War photographer exhibition at Skinzophrenic Hereford. Children of war, Acquiescence

Skinzophrenic Tattoos on Aubrey Street in the city centre of Hereford will be hosting an art exhibition featuring two artists, two worlds and two different art mediums.

The private viewing will take place on March 18th commencing at 8:00 pm and will be open to the public on March 19th from 11 am. 

skinzophrenic tattoos hereford art exhibtion

Skinzophrenic Tattoos, 40 Aubrey Street, Hereford HR4 0BU  Telephone 01432 358696  Facebook Page HERE

BORN INTO WAR – THE TAKEOVER OF MOSUL

Peter Masters is not your typical business man, he is a fearless adventurer on the side of the good guys who happens to own a Skinzophrenic tattoo studio in Hereford, a Skinzophrenic tattoo studio in Iraq and a laser removal and piercing studio in the works to be located in Hereford’s High Town. It makes you wonder if he is planning to take over the world.

The truth is taking over the world is the least of his concerns, he is a man with a camera, one with guts and a purpose for documenting the war in Iraq, and a man who would gladly leave Western life behind to fight for what he believes in. How he manages to get so close is a matter of speculation…we are just glad he can. It is brave souls like him who put themselves in harrowing situations to show the world the truth about what is really going on at the front line in Iraq that are heroes in this war along with the survivors who live it daily. A photograph cannot lie and can tell a thousand tales.

“What is most eerie is that a young boy is standing in front of the family like a shield, perhaps his father is gone now, you see that he is no longer a child but the lone male defender carrying the burden of responsibility to protect his family on his young shoulders”

Already revered for his documentary photography in Iraq during his time following the Peshmerga, the story does not end there, Peter has yet more to give in the way of raw, uncorrupted imagery after returning from a couple weeks in Mosul at the start of this month. I ran into him on the way to the airport walking down the street with a single suitcase filled with his professional camera equipment and understood the gravity of the position he was putting himself into when I looked in to his eyes; an image I shall never forget. I wished him luck and felt a certain sadness knowing that perhaps the words spoken in that moment could possibly be our last…more so for his children who he is very close to.

“Each time a car bomb went off I would duck or hide and the children would just laugh at me” Peter said. “This is everyday life for them because they were born into this war and have known nothing else”

 

Iraq Frontline Photographer Peter Masters
Life seems more valuable in Iraq. Strangers welcomed me and would die to protect me… There’s a brotherhood I have only had a few times along the way it’s addictive – Peter Masters

This is what you have to do when you are Peter Masters and the many like him who risk death, captivity or injury – both mental and physical, and who put others above themselves to the tell the truth. It is just who he needs to be at this time in his life.

I was fortunate enough to have a glance at the photographs that will be on display at this exhibition and the videos that will be playing in the background journaling his experiences on the streets of Mosul and was amazed at the stories he told me. Mosul was recently taken back by Iraqi military forces, Kurdish fighters and Special Forces who are battling together to maintain hold of the city and keep Daesh (ISIS) on the other side of the Tigris River. No easy task when you are dealing with car bombs, human bombers and an undeterred infiltration from the resistance.

“Each time a car bomb went off I would duck or hide and the children would just laugh at me” Peter said. “This is everyday life for them because they were born into this war and have known nothing else”.  The children play an important feature in this exhibition and the photographs will haunt me forever but I am grateful for this reality check, we all need one.

Iraq Frontline Photographer Peter Masters Art Exhibition at Skinzophrenic Tattoo Studio Hereford
Photograph Peter Masters – 50 Caliber bullet

FEAR IS PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE

In one particular photograph Peter was driving past a mother and her 3 children, whom at the sight of Peter’s camera pointing out the window were paralysed with fear and went into survival mode – something we will never understand in the Western world. You only see two children, but if you look closer the mother is hiding and you just capture a glimpse of her face, while a third child is hiding behind one of the children and are only able to see their leg.

What is most eerie is that a young boy is standing in front of the family like a shield, perhaps his father is gone now, you see that he is no longer a child but the lone male defender carrying the burden of responsibility to protect his family on his young shoulders. Meanwhile the look in his young, but tired eyes is terrifying. It isn’t fair and I can’t help but think that we have done this to them. Peter’s collection will feature many images that will send chills down your spine.

Once again, I met with Peter upon his return with anticipation knowing he was safe but also hungry for details. I found a Peter I still recognised but also a different one – one who was changed forever – a sacrifice he made for the world and for the people of Mosul.

Peter is also putting together a book of his photography work in Mosul that will be available at the exhibition. Tickets for the private viewing are limited and are available at Skinzophrenic on Aubrey St. This exhibition will be running for a limited time.

Artist Paul Crow will also be featuring his paintings in the exhibition. Feature coming soon….

 

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Author: M Cuadra

LA transplant living in England with 23 years experience in the fashion and makeup industry. As a Beauty, Fashion and Culture Blogger who loves punk, indie, grunge and live music in general, it's important to engross oneself and co-exist in these mediums to keep a cutting edge perspecitve that produces inspiring work for generations to come.

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