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Dear <<First Name>>
 

“Peace is more elusive. It’s invisible and abstract as you said. As for war, it is in your face. You cannot see a dead person and walk around it as if it were not there. It’s there. It revolts you…. When I energize my prints in the darkroom, I inject more and more darkness into them. But I don’t consider it to be darkness. I consider it to be strength. I want my pictures to be strong. I want them to punch you in the face when you look at them.” -- Don McCullin, photojournalist, recognized for his war photography

War. Of the many human endeavors, war shows us true cruelty and evil. Photographs of war are all around us right now -- in newspapers, online, on TV and in magazines.  Take a look at the current issue of Time Magazine.  The cover, a photograph by a drone of a photograph unfurled in a Ukrainian town square. The magazine's stories feature a Ukrainian Photographer who documents the invasion of his country.
 
He hopes the people who see his photos will not be able to forget them either. “I don’t stay here and do this because I am a masochist,” Dondyuk, who is Ukrainian, says by phone from the center of Kyiv. “I do it because sometimes a photo can change people, change societies.” With luck, he says, it might help stop a war.”
 
Additional photo essays about the war on Ukraine can be seen at The Guardian, Al Jazeera, NPR, The New York Times, and The Atlantic.  These photographs bring meaning to the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words." 

The first photographs of war are thought to have been made in 1847, when an unknown American photographer produced a series of fifty daguerreotypes depicting scenes from the Mexican-American war in Saltillo, Mexico.  John McCosh, a surgeon in the Bengal Army, is considered by some historians to be the first war photographer known by name. During the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848 to 1849) he produced a series of photographs of victorious officers, fortifications, and land before and after battles, since camera technology at that time could not capture moving images.  During the American Civil War, Haley Sims and Alexander Gardner overcame the limitations of the camera by recreating scenes of battle by rearranging bodies of dead soldiers to create a clear picture of the atrocities of war.  Also, during the Civil War, George S. Cook captured what is thought to be the world's first photographs of actual combat -- wet-plate photographs taken under fire during the Union bombardment of Confederate fortifications near Charleston –the images show explosions and Union ships firing at southern positions.  By World War II photographers were embedded with, and a part of, military operations.

 Robert Capa , US troops’ first assault on Omaha Beach during the D-Day landings.
Normandy, France. June 6, 1944. © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos

 
Susan Sontag in her essay, “Regarding the Pain of Others” said, “One can feel obliged to look at photographs that record great cruelties and crimes.  One should feel obliged to think about what it means to look at them, about the capacity actually to assimilate what they show.”
 
Like many aspects of photography, war photographs beg a number of questions:

  • What is truth?
  • Does the “perfectly captured photograph” of war take away from, and is detrimental to, our perspectives of the cruelties of war?
  • Are the images we see journalistic or propaganda?
  • Is it ethical to record the person in trauma or is that taking advantage of the afflicted?
  • Do the photos make us see and understand and react to the atrocities and tragedy?
  • Do we become de-sensitized to cruelty and war by seeing it as an image, safe from the real harm?

“As objects of contemplation, images of the atrocious can answer to several different needs. To steel oneself against weakness. To make oneself more numb. To acknowledge the existence of the incorrigible. ”
― Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

And After the War
A
fter the war comes preservation and memorialization, attempts to tell the stories and remind us of the atrocities, lives lost and to never forget....

Above, the National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia.
Below, preserved Union army earthworks, Fort Harrison Va. and Fenced trails at Appomattox, Va where the civil war was concluded. 
Binhammer Photographs Website

A Little Get Away


I managed to kick off the spring (and the COVID lull, fingers crossed) with a little road trip to New Mexico with some friends.  More photos coming soon. Here are some new Roadside America images.
Happy spring. Hoping your spring is off to a good start with even more promising and fun times this summer.  I'm praying for the Ukrainians -- those left behind, those who have escaped, and for their futures.
Thanks for being here. 
Please feel free to share this with others who you think might enjoy this monthly note.
 
Photo above courtesy of Geoff Livingston
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www.BinhammerPhotographs.com
Richard@binhammerphotographs.com | 512-422-6867
5807 Harbour Hill Place, Midlothian VA, 23112
Copyright © 2018 Binhammer Photographs, All rights reserved.

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