Photography and war

Oldfield, Pippa ORCID logoORCID: (2019) Photography and war. Reaktion, London. ISBN 9781789141450


There are countless books on war photography, but most focus on dramatic images made by photojournalists in combat zones. Photography and War instead proposes a radically expanded notion of war photography: one that encompasses a far broader terrain of geographies, chronologies, practices, and viewpoints. Thematic chapters consider photography’s fundamental role in military reconnaissance, propaganda and protest, exposure of war crimes, and the memorialisation of war, among many others. Iconic images by well-known names such as Roger Fenton and Robert Capa are considered alongside overlooked artefacts such as photo-albums made by First World War nurses, or placards protesting the Argentine military dictatorship. The historical scope ranges from 19th century surveys carried out by Persian military photographers, to digital images of Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi shared globally on Twitter and recent artworks by ‘aftermath’ photographers. The author takes a feminist and postcolonial stance, ensuring that viewpoints from people who have historically been overlooked—women and photographers from diasporic and non-Western backgrounds—are forcefully present. As a result, Photography and War offers a nuanced and more inclusive understanding of war as a far-reaching undertaking in which anyone might be implicated and affected. Richly illustrated with 120 images, some of which are published for the first time, Photography and War offers an accessible and comprehensive introduction to photography’s perhaps most contested, complex, and emotive subject.

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item