1 of 16
Peter Van Agtmael


Peter Van Agtmael, Des Moines, Iowa. 2010.

At the annual Iowa GOP Ronald Reagan dinner Sarah Palin gave the keynote speech, which was seen as testing the waters for a possible presidential run. She savaged Obama; both for his pacifism (withdrawing American troops from Iraq) and his militarism (ordering the surge in Afganistan). She praised the armed forces, while attacking the press ("people who are out there for the right of journalists to lie").

Photo courtesy of Peter van Agtmael-Magnum Photos.



Peter Van Agtmael, Maryland, 2015.

The KKK had boasted that dozens from their Klan chapter would attend the rally and cross burning, but there were only a few people when we showed up, including a British TV crew and a freelance photographer.

After a few vague excuses, the 6 or 7 Klan members changed into their robes and began a show amongst themselves.

One of the leaders started his speech. He shouted that there were ISIS training camps being created by the United Nations with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) whose fighters would then take American's guns away.

This plan was allegedly hatched by Barack Obama (or Barry Soetoro as he was called by the Klan. Soetoro was the surname of Obama's stepfather and that he was briefly called Barry Soetoro in elementary school in Indonesia has been used as evidence that Obama was not born in America).

Photo courtesy of Peter van Agtmael-Magnum Photos.

Peter Van Agtmael, Detroit, Michigan, 2012.

Outside Lyniece Nelson's house. The family was still in shock over Treasure's death. One of her sisters said 

"I don't know if Treasure is asleep, or up.  Because her pictures... every time I move around... they look like they are following me.  She woke mama up to tell her she was leaving, she left... and that's it."

Photo courtesy of Peter van Agtmael-Magnum Photos.



Peter Van Agtmael, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 2011.  

While on a road trip with my friend Justin, we met a couple of guys and started chatting.

They invited us to check out a spot where they had a rope swing, and on the way we picked up some beer.

Dusk was falling and it became a little party, we lit a fire while some of their younger cousins swung over a deep chasm, with just a thin rope around their waist to secure them to the tree.

As the beer ran out and the night began to get colder, they invited us back to their home.

Upon arrival, their sister (the matriarch of the family) smelled their breath and became furious.  She asked us what possessed us to give them beer.  She told us there was rampant alcoholism on the reservation, and declared we were just another in a long line of white men exploiting the Lakota.  We were filled with tremendous shame and apologized profusely. As she explained the history of the tribe she mellowed and invited us to spend the night.  We awoke in the morning to a beautiful dawn, and the youngest children tending to the horses.

Photo courtesy of Peter van Agtmael-Magnum Photos.


Peter Van Agtmael, Portland, Oregon, 2015.

Iraqi refugees in a low income housing community in Portland. The area is home to several thousand Iraqi refugees.

One of the main community organizers is Dr. Baher Butti, who fled Baghdad in 2006 after his community activism made him the target of local militias. A psychiatrist, activist, and writer, Dr. Butti spends much of his free time helping the recent immigrants adapt to life in America. Many of them don't speak much English and don't understand their rights within the web of bureaucracy. 

Although he is constantly overworked, he sees it as his responsibility to help his people get on their feet as fast as possible.

Photo courtesy of Peter van Agtmael-Magnum Photos.