Democracy Dies in Darkness

In Sight | Perspective

Photographers edit photographers: The late Stanley Greene called Yuri Kozyrev's war photography 'lyricism in darkness'

December 28, 2017 at 3:20 PM

Mourners weep after the Beslan school massacre that left 331 people dead, including 186 children in North Ossetia, Russia, on Sept. 5, 2004. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
Soldiers wounded during an attack in Tsentaroy, Chechnya, in December 1999. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)

In the final installment of our series featuring the Noor agency photographers editing one another, we show 10 images by the renowned Russian war photographer Yuri Kozyrev chosen by the late Stanley Greene.

Stanley and Yuri met after both had spent years covering the protracted war in Chechnya. They quickly discovered a common bond — each liked to wear bold silver rings on both hands — initiating their friendship. Stanley introduced Yuri to influential members of the international photo community, and the two remained close friends and colleagues until Stanley’s death earlier this year. “Stanley respected and believed in me,” Yuri says. “He knew that I was committed to go anywhere and proved that over years and years by always going with or without any assignments.”

Here is some of what Stanley said, referring to Yuri’s work as “lyricism in darkness”:

“When I look at the images of Yuri, I see beauty covered in darkness, shadows of the unknown, the human condition in its rawest form, the skin scraped clean, bearing the soul and heart of who we really are as people. It is important to understand that Yuri is a poet. He has the deepest waters of a true Russian, with the eyes beyond looking into, they are most times shrouded in cigarette smoke, like fog on the Volga River at night. The images here come together after scraping away the dust of the past. The power of his amazing eye to just capture us and pull us sometimes where we face the unexpected. When looking at his pictures, the horror is so real you try to look away, but your eyes are nailed like captured butterflies in a book. The question asked why these images were chosen is such a simple answer: they are the best from his yesterdays, his today, and his tomorrow. Of course with a talent like Yuri, we have no idea of his visual future. If this small sampling is any indication of where he has brought us visually, we can expect true greatness from him.”

A Sheikh Maruf cemetery worker carried a reusable casket back to the storage house after the funeral of Nidal Ali Jasem, 41, a deaf woman killed in a rocket blast in Baghdad in March 2003. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
Villagers arrested by U.S. forces sit bound in the street after a roadside bomb attack that left four Americans and one Iraqi boy dead in Baqubah, Iraq, in March 2007. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
Detainees pray in the “red block” at the U.S. military detention facility Camp Bucca in Iraq in March 2009. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
Iraqi army commanders survey the front line in the village of Kharbardan, Iraq. The Iraqi military seized the village from Islamic State forces in March 2016, during a grinding campaign to reclaim Mosul. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
Rebels flee under fire from the Libyan army in Ras Lanuf, Libya, in March 2011. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
Libyan rebels clash with Gaddafi loyalists in Tripoli’s Abu Slim neighborhood in August 2011. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
A blind protester attends a demonstration at the Change Square in Sanaa, Yemen, in May 2011. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)
Once filled with cafes and shops, the Qabaris neighborhood in the Old City of Homs, Syria, is reduced to rubble in May 2014. (Yuri Kozyrev/Noor/)

More on In Sight:

A Russian photojournalist selects powerful images about Africa made by his Italian colleague

An insight into care and suffering, Kadir van Lohuizen on the photography of Andrea Bruce

Photographers edit photographers: Photos show the perilous journeys of young Afghan migrants and refugees

In Sight is The Washington Post photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

MaryAnne Golon is the Director of Photography at The Washington Post. Before joining The Post in 2012, MaryAnne was the director of photography at Time Magazine and a senior photography editor there for more than 20 years. She graduated with honors from The University of Florida with a B.S. in Journalism.

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