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OU photography exhibit displays Somalian conflict

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Born in London and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, 22-year-old Dan Eldon was a freelance photojournalist and humanitarian who found life's beauty through a camera lens.

In 1992, he flew to Baidoa, Somalia, to capture the escalating civil war and epic famine plaguing the African country. His photographs appeared in newspapers and magazines, and were among the first images to raise awareness of the crisis. That winter, Eldon began freelancing for international news agency Reuters, and his work was featured in a two-page spread in Time magazine.

On July 12, 1993, the young photographer and three colleagues were en route to record events surrounding the U.S. bombing of the supposed headquarters of General Mohammed Farah Aideed, as part of U.N. efforts to end famine. Eldon and the others were stoned, clubbed and beaten to death by a mob in the streets of Mogadishu.

"Journal: Dan Eldon's Images of War and Peace," an inspirational exhibition of Eldon's work and art, is showing inside the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, 395 W. Lindsey, in Norman.

Among the belongings returned to Eldon's parents after his death was a small, black journal. Equally intrigued and horrified by events in Somalia, he glued photographs to a quarter of the journal's pages. Unlike his earlier black-bound journals "? which contained collages of photographs, comic-book heroes, ostrich feathers and newspaper clippings with passages describing fears and triumphs "? this journal was simple and bare, missing the other journals' flourishes and embellishment.

A 15-minute documentary about the photographer's short life and excerpts from his journals will be displayed through Nov. 23.

Admission is free. For more information, call 325-5372.

"?Natalie Burkey 

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