A Video Introduction to the Groundbreaking ‘War / Photography’ Exhibition

War/Photography surveys both iconic and newly discovered photographs of war and conflict, from daguerreotypes documenting the Crimean and American Civil Wars to digital images made by soldiers in 21st-century Iraq. The atrocities, the courage, all of the human emotions and actions that surround war are laid bare before the photographers lens. This striking video introduction to the exhibition gives a chance for the curators of War / Photography to recount their personal experience of the collection and reiterate why it is crucial that the public does not flinch away from images of conflict.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents an unprecedented exhibition exploring the experience of war through the eyes of photographers. WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath gathers together nearly 500 objects, including photographs, books, magazines, albums, and photographic equipment.

Images recorded by more than 280 photographers, from 28 nations, span 6 continents and more than 165 years, from the Mexican-American War in the mid-1800s to present-day conflicts. Iconic photographs as well as previously unknown images are featured, taken by military photographers, commercial photographers (portrait and photojournalist), amateurs, and artists.

The exhibition examines the relationship between war and photography, exploring the types of photographs created during wartime, as well as by whom and for whom. Rather than being organized chronologically, or as a survey of ‘greatest hits’, the images are arranged to show the progression of war: from the acts that instigate armed conflict to ‘the fight’, to victory and defeat, and photos that memorialise a war, its combatants, and its victims. Portraits of servicemen, military and political leaders, and civilians are a consistent presence.

Accompanying the show is a 600-page illustrated catalogue, published by Yale University Press, which features interviews and essays by curators, scholars, and military historians. After the Houston premiere, WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY travels to the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles; the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; and the Brooklyn Museum.

Video courtesy of the Carrithers Studio

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