Leaving out the politics involved, there have been numerous very memorable war photographs over the years. Raising of the Flag on Mount Suribachi, The Sinking of the Arizona, The Dead on the Battlefield at Gettysburg, The aftermath of a Mustard Gas attack, The Veitnamese man being executed in the street, the Soldier at on Guadacanal staring off into space, the list goes on and on.
So, what aspect of the upcomming war would you want to capture? What type of picture would you be trying to make? The massive destruction? The heroism? The effect on the civilians?
After thinking awhile, I think I'd try to document the human aspect, not heroism but suffering, weariness, horror, and the destruction of the planet and culture. Flaming oil wells, ancient art ruined, refugees, shell shocked soldiers and soldiers that are just grim but doing their duty, and, of course, the horror of death and suffering, especially if this war turns ugly.
The overall goal wouldn't be to aid any anti-war movement, but to show that war, however necessary it may sometimes be (and I really don't know personally how necessary or unnecessary it is at this point), is not to be waged lightly.
The images with the greatest impact on me would be of the innocent civilian "colateral damage" especially the children.
...preferring to be on the shiny side of the film
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Aggie @ Mar 19 2003, 09:53 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> It is all a total package. Is that not what documentary photography strives to do? Tell the whole story through pictures? Balance it with both sides?</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
I can't agree more and I didn't realize just how much the media has been distorting the issue until this week when we suddenly get repeated stories and pictures of Hussein's sadistic and murderous actions. Where has this been over the last few months? Why were the pictures of piled bodies of the Kurds not seen for the last six months and now it is shown nightly?
Those Kurds were the "colateral damage" of appeasement and inaction.
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Unfortunately, few remember that the attack on the Kurds was backed and supplied with materials from the United States. At the time, Iraq was our friend and we were concerned with Iran -- the country whose name ended with "n".
I just came across a series of photographs by Ernst Haas. He made many photographs of returning German soldiers. No "shocking" gore, just everyday images of a soldier in uniform, semi-silhoetted from the rear - on crutches with only one leg; a short, dumpy woman, holding a photograph of a soldier, and pleading with her expression for some information; a man in a military overcoat, walking with his arm around a woman; an older woman praying....
Nothing explosively emotional, but, taken together they speak of the loss of hope, the anxiety of "not knowing" ... the bleakness and horrible, penetrating boredom, and waiting.
"My" war was Korea. I spent most of my time in the Combat Engineers, training others to blow things up. Back then, I learned a song from a 33 year veteran.
It came from the first World War, and probably describes combat more eloquently than my photography ever could:
"Where the whiz-bangs are flyin'
And comforts are few
There brave man are a-dyin'
For bastards like you."
This applies to those getting shot at - on either both side.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Along with this discussion of war photographs one must not lose sight of the use of manipulation, fakery and staging in such photographs. The most famous is the Mt. Sarubuchi raising of the flag which was actually a recreation of of the actual event with a much bigger American flag.
We also know that Sadam used corpses that had died from causes other then war to display to gullible news organizations in the first Iraqi war as casualties.
The US military is very good at showing only the successful smart bomb strikes and Patriot missle intercepts.
These practices go all the way back to the Civil War where it was common practice for photographers to move corpses into more pleasing compositions.
Finally, correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't the famous photograph by Capa of the Spanish soldier being shot by been debunked as staged?
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jim68134 @ Mar 20 2003, 07:24 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> The most famous is the Mt. Sarubuchi raising of the flag which was actually a recreation of of the actual event with a much bigger American flag.
There have been many stories about the flag raising captured in this picture and I'm not sure that we'll ever know for sure which is correct. The one I've chosen to believe is as follows.
The first flag raised was a small flag. The Marine General in charge of the landing saw it there but said it was, "Too damn small, get a bigger flag up there."
Like any good marines, the saluted and found a large flag on one of the ships and had it brought to shore. The flag was then carried up to the summit through enemy fire (the mountain wasn't completely secured at the time), the smaller flag taken down, and the new one raised.
So, it wasn't a real recreation, it was the replacement of the original flag with a larger one.
It may not be the truth, but it is the story I like best.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ Mar 20 2003, 05:28 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Unfortunately, few remember that the attack on the Kurds was backed and supplied with materials from the United States.
And few remember that the United States sold Japan the materials to use in the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Photos and words are often used to mislead and distort.
One of the members of that entourage (to place the flag on Mt. Sarubuchi) was a Pima Indian from a reservation in Arizona. His name was Ira Hayes. There is a song written about him. "The Ballad of Ira Hayes".
Aggie, If you see Ramblin' Jack, ask him about it. I bet he will sing it for you. It was written by Richard Farina. At the time, he was married to the sister of Joan Baez, Mimi. He was later killed in a traffic accident. He also wrote a book titled "Been down so long, it looks like up to me". Long out of print, but a good read of how it was in the '60's.