A controversial war photography show closes Sunday at the Brooklyn Museum, after a three-month exhibit with stops in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. “War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath“features more than 480 photographs and other documents from wars dating back to 1887.
“In the news and magazines, people don’t show us what’s really going on,” says Ann Wilkes Tucker, who curated the show with Will Michels.
“We felt that if the soldiers have to see it and if the journalists have to see it, we have to see it.”
Reactions to the exhibition have been mostly positive, if disturbed. Phillip Kennicott at The Washington Post called the exhibition “wrenching and horrifying,” while Vince Aletti at The New Yorker found it “tough and unflinching.”
Some reviewers, however, objected to the overwhelming size and structure of the exhibit, which is jam-packed and arranged thematically, with images of World War II appearing next to images of Afghanistan or Rwanda.
The effect, according to Ken Johnson of The New York Times, is “mind-numbing” and “flawed.”
One way or another, it’s a powerful experience. With permission from the Brooklyn Museum, we are (again) publishing a selection of the photos.
Ukrainian battalion commander Alexsei Yeremenko leads soldiers to attack in 1941, after the commander of his regiment was injured.
Women work at an aeroplane assembly plant in 1942. With men off at war, women took up factory jobs, with 2.8 million in war production that year.
A Royal Navy sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag during a voyage to Sierra Leone in 1942.
Five Marines and one Navy corpsman raise Old Glory on Mount Suribachi after taking Iwo Jima in 1945.
An evacuation helicopter in Vietnam raises the body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border in 1966.
A Vietnam War protester brings a flower to soldiers in Washington D.C., on Oct. 21, 1967. Nearly 100,000 people came out to protest.
'Little Tiger,' a child soldier rumoured to have killed his mother and his teacher, stands for a photograph in 1968.
A US Marine drill instructor delivers a severe reprimand to a recruit at Parris Island in 1970. Seventeen thousand Marine recruits are trained every year at Parris Island.
Former hostages from the Entebbe hijacking return to Israel in 1976. Israeli commandos led a daring rescue operation that saved 102 of the 106 hostages.
Prisoner #389 of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Led by infamous dictator Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge carried out the Cambodian Genocide, during which more than 2 million people were killed.
A woman and child visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D. C., 1986. The wall, which features the names of all those killed or missing in action, was completed in 1982.
Young members of Fatah, a major Palestinian political party, at the funeral procession of a Palestinian fighter in 2002.
Military service is mandatory for all Israelis. Fifteen years after completing her own service, Israeli photographer Rachel Papo documents young female soldiers buying things at a military kiosk counter in 2004.
Raymond Hubbard, an Iraq War veteran with a prosthetic leg, puts on a Star Wars storm trooper's helmet and engages his sons in a light-saber battle in 2007. His father was similarly injured in Vietnam.
In 2008, photographer Louie Palu captures U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Orjuela. At 31, he was one of the oldest Marines in the unit at the base in Garmsir District, one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan.
Congolese women flee to Goma from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008. Congo has been mired in a series of civil wars since 1996.
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