Theme: The Images of War
Photographs as a resultant invention of the camera, presented humanity with the ability to keep a copy of moments that happen within a span of seconds, but exist to be witnessed several years later by millions of viewers. As such it is important that everyone appreciate the power behind every photo as some live on to change the lives of those who look unto them with meaning. The following is a collection of photographs taken years back that depict different aspects of the impacts wars had on the people. Those affected were collective across the board in that some directly took part in the war while others suffered due to the mere fact that they were there while it happened.
Photograph : Soldier’s Farewell
Date : 1942
This photograph was taken during a farewell session as soldiers bid farewell to their families while heading out to take part in World War II. It depicts best the mix of emotions that surround every war whenever people have to bid farewell to their loved ones. As noted in the picture, some break down into tears while others try to spend their last moments in indulging on the things they will miss most about each other, most of which include the romantic moments shared in kiss.
This photograph fits perfectly in the theme Images of War in that it displays a brief picture of what goes on whenever soldiers that serve in the army are called in and flown to a war zone to serve their country. It shows that beneath that soldier wielding a gun and dropping bombs while dodging anti-aircraft artillery, is a man or woman with a family that loves them and looks forward to their return. There are those that miss them and will be devastated should their brother, sister, husband, wife or child lose their lives while in service.
Photograph : Air Raid, Hankow
Photographer : Robert Capa
Year : 1938
This particular photograph was taken during the bombing of the bombings at Hankow district. It involved the participation of 60 Japanese bombers, which dropped bombs in large numbers at the residential areas of Han Yang and Wuchang. It is reported that the initial number of bombers in the fleet that was directed to conduct the exercise was 100, but 40 of them did not make it to their destination, a failure attributed to bad weather (The Canberra Times, 1938). The whole exercise ended leaving more than 600 Chinese residents dead and several thousands wounded.
Those captured in the photograph were the residents whose district was under attack. They helplessly took to a vantage point and observed as the bombers dropped the bombs. It conforms to the Images of War theme depicting that even when nations are at war, the citizens are often the ones that get hurt most. This is in consideration of the fact that their ability to either take part in the war, or take cover to avoid being victims is significantly minimal. A look at the expressions on the faces of those captured in the photo shows this aspect clearly, as the only thing they could do was watch and wait for the one that would ultimately be dropped in their vicinity.
Photograph : Massacre des dominicains d’Arcueil, route d’Italie no. 38, le 25 mai 1871, à 4 heures et demie
(Massacre of the Dominicans of Arcueil, Italy road no. 38, May 25, 1871 at 4:30)
Photographer : Ernest Eugène Appert
Year : 1871
This photograph was taken during times when countries had a mix of both physical and psychological warfare. The photographer was best known for his ability to recreate events, whereby he used prisoners to come up with directed scenes for his photographs. He was a key tool to the government then as it circulated the photos using widely read news articles. Each of his photographs was part of a wider propaganda directed by the government in a bid to discredit their opponents and perceive them as weak (Friedl, 2010). This strategy worked well as news was not easily spread then, and people did not have avenues to attain proof of the speculations and propaganda.
It is a significant piece in the theme Images of War in that it depicts photographs as tools of war which showed with clarity the lengths governments would go to make sure they maintain a certain level of control that was then under their rule.
Friedl, P. (2010) History in the Making. E-Flux. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from
The Canberra Times (1938). 13 Aug 1938 – Air Raid on Hankow. Trove. Retrieved April 1,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2014). Air Raid, Hankow. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2014). Massacre des dominicains d’Arcueil, route d’Italie no.
38, le 25 mai 1871, à 4 heures et demie. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from http://metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/302333?rpp=60&pg=2&rndkey=20140330&ao=on&ft=*&what=Photographs&pos=73
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2014). Soldier’s Farewell. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from