Corcoran Gallery of Art

I loved this exhibit.  I completely agree with “Mittsboro” in that I had much more of a connection and reacted more to the photographs from this century.  The photographs that really killed me were the ones that captured people in a really vulnerable state, such as one by David Turnley titled Iraq which showed a soldier crying over the loss of a friend and fellow soldier.  It truly shows you the destructive capabilities of war.  It makes you wonder if these soldiers could ever return to normal life.  I was also strangely drawn towards photographs showing death and complete destruction.  Some of the ones that stood out and actually made me emotional were one by Richard Peter of ruined Dresden, one by Christine Spengler of Cambodia, one by Don McCullin of a dead North Vietnamese soldier, one by Kenneth Jarecke of an incinerated Iraqi, and one by Mark Redkin of two children being hung.  The photograph by McCullin showed the dead man’s keepsakes strewn across the ground, one of them being a photograph of a girl.  I couldn’t help but wonder who this girl was and whether she had ever seen McCullin’s image.

Another question that arose while I viewed some photographs was “What happened next?”  This was especially true while viewing an image by James Frank Hurley of the silhouettes of soldiers walking along the water.  In some cases, I believe that photographers do this on purpose.  They want questions such as this one to be pondered.  They capture these images to make their audiences think.

Jarecke’s photograph was accompanied by this quote, “If I don’t make pictures like this, people like my mother will think what they see in war is what they see in the movies.”  I also think that it is very important to be a spectator to these images, as Sontag wrote.  We are meant to see these photographs; that is what the photographers intended.  They are important connections to our past, meant to help as grow as a race.


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