Deep within the treacherous terrain of the Uzbin Valley, young soldiers of the French International Security Assistance Force had a mission to fulfill: to take the valley, the same valley that saw a dozen French soldiers killed in an ambush by Afghan militants in August 2008. During the course of six months, the troops took the valley and every last village within, using what little mental and physical strength they had left. Not once during this time had they used their weapons, nor had they seen a Taliban. There had been an occassional attack upon them, but no one knew from where. Most days, the valley was hauntingly still, like a ghost, heightening the tension and fear of confrontation--as though scenes from Dino Buzatti's "The Tartar Steppe" had come to life.
Eric Bouvet covered the Second Chechen War from October to December of 1999, and returned in February 2000. Bouvet traveled with three Russian officers during his second visit to the region and witnessed up-close the destruction and decay of a country ravaged by war. In Grozny, Chechnya’s capital city, buildings were all but leveled, tens of thousands were dead, and radioactive material polluted the area in the wake of storage facility bombings. “Nothing remained,” Bouvet recounted, “just a huge, imposing void.” When he returned in March 2008, Bouvet found Grozny as a city in the process of rebirth. Civilians, totaling only about 5,000 in number, were carrying on with daily life and were starting the task of rebuilding a once magnificent city. As he revisited places he had photographed in his earlier trips to the region, Bouvet not only documented the modernization of a city, but the will and determination of a people rising from the ashes of war.
At its launch, VII Network is representing seven freelance photojournalists: Eric Bouvet, Jessica Dimmock, Tivadar Domaniczky, Balazs Gardi, Ben Lowy, Stephanie Sinclair and Donald Weber. VII Network will represent these photographers exclusively worldwide, says VII managing director Frank Evers.”