Peter van Agtmael’s Take on the Power of Photography

1 minute read

In our latest First Take interview, TIME spoke with documentary photographer Peter van Agtmael to examine the art and craft of photography.

“When you try to describe a picture, there’s no way of expressing its power,” he tells TIME. “A great photograph is entirely unexpected, even when you have all the pieces in place.”

A member of Magnum Photos, Agtmael has concentrated on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their consequences in the U.S. since 2006. He says his draw to war is not a logical one. “It runs through my blood and it’s very difficult for me to deny that and avoid it.”

Peter van Agtmael is a Magnum photographer whose documentary work focuses on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

First Take is an ongoing video series curated by TIME’s photography editors. See the previous videos here.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at