Peter van Agtmael’s Take on the Power of Photography

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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.