Critical Mass: Cynthia Bittenfield

Looking at portfolios from Critical Mass 2011…

New york photographer, Cynthia Bittenfield, has an compelling project, Such is War, about life on the home front while war is continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The diptychs of daily life at home and life as a solider bring the reality of war into clear focus.

Cynthia received her MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, holds a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from the University of Illinois, and a BA in Photography, from Columbia College, Chicago, IL. She has exhibited in solo and group shows across the country, and received numerous grants.

In her book, Wars I Have Seen, Gertrude Stein writes about the experience of the home front while living in France during World War II. Writing about her earlier years she notes, “During these years there was no war and if there was it was not any war of mine.”

We are fast approaching the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. For the majority of this decade we have been at war. These are our wars. The news of these wars has vanished from the front-page headlines eclipsed by pressing issues on the home front. For most of us the wars did not dramatically impact our lives. This series looks at life on the home front but references the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have yet to fully realize the impact of soldiers returning home from a combat zone as they attempt to reintegrate back into society. We will no longer be able to keep the clean separation between home front and war front.

Stein continues, “Of course there are a good many times when there is no war just as there are a good many times when there is a war. And when there is no war, well just now I cannot remember just how it is when there is no war.”