Peter van Agtmael (born 1981) is a documentary photographer based in New York. Since 2006 he has concentrated on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their consequences in the United States. He is a member of Magnum Photos
Van Agtmael's photo essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine
, TIME Magazine
, The New Yorker
and The Guardian
. He has published three books. His first, 2nd Tour Hope I Don't Die
, was published by Photolucida
as a prize for winning their Critical Mass Book Award. He received a W. Eugene Smith Grant
from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to complete his second book, Disco Night Sept. 11.
His third, Buzzing at the Sill
, was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2016. He has twice received awards from World Press Photo
, the Infinity Award for Young Photographer from the International Center of Photography and a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Van Agtmael was born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. He studied history at Yale, graduating in 2003. He became a nominee member of Magnum Photos in 2008, an associate member in 2011, and a full member in 2013.
After graduation he received a fellowship to live in China for a year and document the consequences of the Three Gorges Dam. He has covered HIV-positive refugees in South Africa; the Asian tsunami in 2005; humanitarian relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina's effects on New Orleans in 2005 and after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the filming of the first season of TV series Treme on location in New Orleans in 2010; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and its aftermath, Nabi Salih and Halamish in the West Bank in 2013 and the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict and its aftermath.
Since 2006 he has concentrated on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their consequences in the United States. He first visited Iraq in 2006 at age 24 and has returned to Iraq and Afghanistan a number of times, embedded with US military troops. Later he continued to investigate the effects of those wars within the US. In 2007 his portfolio from Iraq and Afghanistan won the Monograph Award (softbound) in Photolucida's Critical Mass Book Award. As part of the prize Photolucida published his first book, 2nd Tour, Hope I Don’t Die. With work made between January 2006 and December 2008, this "is a young photojournalist’s firsthand experience: the wars’ effects on him, on the soldiers and on the countries involved." The 2012 W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography provided $30,000 to work on his second book, Disco Night Sept. 11, which "chronicles the lives of the soldiers he has met in the field and back home."