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MORTEN HVAAL
[b.1963] Norwegian documentary photographer
I have come to the hospital to photograph a wounded young girl. Her doctor has asked me to help get the United Nations to evacuate her. Her injuries are horrible. She is in a coma and she will die soon. But she is tying up badly needed medical resources now.

"Sorry about the blood on the sheets", says a nurse and puts a plastic doll in the little girl's limp hand. It's late afternoon and the soft light coming through the plastic where the windows used to be is fading. "It will be too dark in a few minutes", I tell myself, trying to overcome the numbing pain so I can do something. Do something. Do what?

I want to stroke the little girl's cheek. Tell her she will be all right. Make everything all right. I want to curl up on the floor and cry. I want it all to go away.

But it will never go away. So I do what I always do. I absorb yet another dose of it. I expose a few frames of film and myself to every nuance of the horror of a child torn apart by shrapnel.

The photograph is grotesquely beautiful. I have turned a scream into music. - Morten Hvaal - Sarajevo, 1993.


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