Ben Lowy was a finalist in last year’s Photography.Book.Now competition for his work Iraq Perspectives. He now talks to Pocket-lint on his work in the field and the motivation behind it.

Why did you decide to take on projects taking photography in war zones?
It is a privilege to be on the front lines of history, to be trusted to make images that can speak to a disconnected audience. Conflict photography is what motivated me to become a photographer in the first place. It was the intensity of subject that attracted me.

I knew I was willing and able to make pictures in a war zone and to witness horrible things that go on there. I also know that many people don’t care about a land or people far away from them. But I do and I hope that my images can remind the audience that we are all human.

What subject matter do you look for in the field?
My ultimate goal is to make a beautiful photograph from a horrible reality. I aim to connect with an audience that, for the most part, is apathetic and I hope to make them care.

What photography kit do you pack for your trips?
The type of kit I take away with me really depends on the trip and length of assignment. But usually I travel with two digital cameras and two film cameras. I have three to five lenses - three "prime" lenses and two zooms (just in case). I carry a flash, batteries, chargers, a computer, and numerous hard drives.

Can you describe a typical day in the war zones you visit?
Sometimes routine is good when I’m away on trips. Usually, I wake early and look over the previous day’s notes and assemble my plan for the day. On most assignments I sketch a brief outline of themes and subjects I plan to cover. I usually go to a specific place and let the action develop around me.

How willing are people in war zones to be photographed? Has this changed over the years?
For the most part people are willing to the photographed. Definitely more so than in the West. I think there is a silent acknowledgement and acceptance of the job we journalists are doing. But more and more we are in danger. There is less respect today for our profession and increasingly people associate us with our nationality or religion.

How do you get around in the field? Do you have security?
It depends on the situation. I have travelled with security guards, the US military, the Iraqi army and the Afghan army. But more times than not I travel on my own with a translator and driver and occasionally another photographer.

Do you have any advice for photographers wanting to focus on war photography?
War is only one part of life. There are many other aspects of human existence that deserve observation. I haven’t always photographed war zones - I’ve shot fashion and sports and wonderful landscapes. As a photographer, I think it’s good to have variety to my work.

Take a shot at the $25,000 grand prize and submit your book by 16 July, 2009. For more information, visit