The following photographs represent a small selection of our most powerful images of 2015. They crossed our desks, held our gaze and moved us during a particularly traumatic year.
Photojournalists put their lives on the line every day, after all, and a photograph is less likely to contain bias, right? "With his new photobook War Is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict, David Shields is taking aim at what he characterizes as the “war porn” routinely seen on the front page of America’s most respected paper of record." [more inside]
"For the next several days, I’m going to be sharing stories from refugees who are currently making their way across Europe." Humans of New York went to Greece (and will go to other locations) to talk to newly-arrived refugees fleeing Iraq as well as some locals. It will be posting their stories and photos. There are spots of kindness, however, as you'd expect, they are largely terrifying and tragic. (Warning: Human suffering and death.) [more inside]
The Veteran Art Project is a visual experiment by 27-year-old photographer Devin Mitchell "who is exploring a part of the veteran’s experience that is sometimes difficult to articulate." [more inside]
… we should be big enough to look at it." From The Atlantic, The War Photo No One Would Publish
The Photographic History of the Civil War (10 vols.; 1911) offered context for thousands of striking images from the American Civil War: 1 - The Opening Battles; 2 - Two Years of Grim War; 3 - The Decisive Battles; 4 - The Cavalry; 5 - Forts and Artillery; 6 - The Navies; 7 - Prisons and Hospitals; 8 - Soldier Life / Secret Service; 9 - Poetry and Eloquence of Blue and Gray; 10 - Armies and Leaders. It was also a capstone in the intriguing career of a little-known popular historian and silent era filmmaker. [more inside]
A century ago, mankind fought a war "To End all Wars". The scars and reliquaries from that time still endure today.
"When you say ‘war photographer’ the first image that comes to mind is someone crazy for the bang bang. Not Anja. She was an artist. She used her sensitivity and sense of understanding to access the human side of war." In Memoriam: Anja Niedringhaus (1965—2014). Her photographs are powerful and beautiful.
Photographer Shannon Jensen's series “The Long Walk” documents the shoes belonging to some of the 30,000 refugees who traveled by foot across the border from Sudan’s Blue Nile state over to neighboring South Sudan. Additional background on the Amnesty award-winning project. [more inside]
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
The Finnish Defence Forces have put their archive of 170,000 WWII photographs online.
Some "night fighters".
Some American prisoners, probably from the ill-fated Convoy PQ 17 [more inside]
Some "night fighters".
Some American prisoners, probably from the ill-fated Convoy PQ 17 [more inside]
PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
Vietnam - Looking Into the Past. Vietnamese photographer Khánh Hmoong takes pictures of Vietnamese landscapes and buildings, then superimposes a photograph from the past over the modern day setting. His work is similar to FILMography (previously on MeFi), Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov's World War II gallery: Link to the Past, and Ben Heine's Pencil Versus Camera. Via
Exploding bombs frequently caused so much vibration of photo enlargers that prints blurred and had to be remade
The Pacific War Photographs of Pfc Glenn W. Eve — "In the summer of 1942, the U.S. Army called up a skinny California boy barely out of his teens. But at 5’9’’ and 125 pounds, Private Glenn W. Eve was deemed unfit for combat. He might have spent the duration of World War II at a desk, except that he had field skills the Army needed – he was a gifted artist, draftsman and photographer who'd spent the previous four years working for the Walt Disney Co. In July 1944, they promoted him to private first class (Pfc) and assigned him to the Signal Photo Corps, bound for the Pacific to document the war. This is his collection, never before published. All comments in quotes are Pfc Eve's, written on the back of the photo."
These photos are about Taylor, who lost most of his limbs in Afghanistan, and his girlfriend Danielle. It is a love story, told only in 22 pictures. Background story via Taylor's friend, photographer Tim Dodd.
In my unending search for just the right vintage images for our articles, I have looked through thousands of photographs of men from the last century or so. One of the things that I have found most fascinating about many of these images, is the ease, familiarity, and intimacy, which men used to exhibit in photographs with their friends and compadres. Male Affection: A Photographic History Tour
Photos of Rhodesian military vehicles taken between 1979 and early 1980 with a Kodak Instamatic.
True Adventures in Better Homes - Here is a collision of two worlds: men’s adventure magazines or “sweats” meets Better Homes and Gardens. These photocollages are set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, advertising, sexual repression, WWII and the Korean War. The cool, insular world of mid-century modern living glossed over all danger and darkness, which the heroic male fought off in every corner.
Every World Press Photo Award Winner From 1955-2011. Many photos not safe for work and/or not safe for life, due to images of violence.
Richard Mosse's photography from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [Previously] [more inside]
"The Soldier Portraits Project...consists of portrait photographs of soldiers of the United States Army, primarily of the 3rd Infantry Division...[t]he photographs are made using the 150 year old collodion wet plate process - the same process that was used to document much of the period (and many of the soldiers) of the Civil War." [more inside]
Marked. Photographer Claire Felicie photographed the marines of the 13th infantry company of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, before, during and after their deployment in Uruzgan.
World War II in Photos "A retrospective of World War II in large-size photo stories. 900 photos in all, over 20 chapters, telling many of the countless millions of stories from the biggest conflict and biggest story of the 20th century." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Burke + Norfolk. Photographs from the War in Afghanistan, by John Burke and Simon Norfolk (previously).
In pictures: the life of a war photographer (There are some graphic images in here; not for the squeamish, though for most would be SFW for most workplaces).
...it should be no surprise that among the 79 commandos involved in Operation Neptune Spear, one was a dog...it should come as no surprise that among the 79 commandos involved in Operation Neptune Spear that resulted in Osama bin Laden's killing, there was one dog -- the elite of the four-legged variety. And though the dog in question remains an enigma -- another mysterious detail of the still-unfolding narrative of that historic mission -- there should be little reason to speculate about why there was a dog involved... A lot more photos, links, and history here and here and more adoption info here
The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
Captured: A Look Back at the Vietnam War on the 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. (The following photo collection contains some graphic violence and depictions of dead bodies.)
Images of War. Three friends: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David Seymour (known as Chim) set out to document wartime Spain. Each photographer found their own vision, relationship with war, and eventual wartime deaths (Taro near Madrid in 1937; Capa, the first photojournalist killed in Indochina 1954, and Seymour to sniper fire in Egypt in 1956). Capa and Taro’s work from the Civil War assumed lost during the Nazi Invasion of Paris appeared in a Mexican Suitcase in 2007 bringing with it a mysterious tale (Previous Metas). For extra galleries click [more inside]
Japan Air Raids "is an ongoing project to build a digital archive dedicated to the international dissemination of information about the World War II air raids against Japan." They have seeded it with quite a bit of material (e.g. Target Tokyo, narrated by Ronald Reagan in the documentary and propaganda section) and promise there is much more to come. [Warning, some images may disturb] [via]
Georgina Cranston travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to photograph the women who work deep inside some of the country's disused gold mines. [more inside]
The International Center of Photography is exhibiting photographs online from the Mexican Suitcase, a cache of photographs taken during the Spanish Civil War, hidden, and rediscovered in 2008.
Bedrooms of the Fallen, from war photographer Ashley Gilbertson. Via the NYT Lens Blog: War Memorials With Neatly Made Beds. (Slideshow: The Shrine Down The Hall)
David Guttenfelder is the chief Asia photographer for The Associated Press. Recently, he has been focusing his lens in Afghanistan. Photographer Collection: David Guttenfelder in Afghanistan and On Assignment: Afghanistan.
Photos from the war. A slideshow of photos taken by German soldier Werner Wiehe... vermisst in Russland, 1944. (While viewing the slideshow, might I suggest playing some appropriate musical accompaniment, arranged in sequential order?!)
Jean M. Fasse (Red Cross during WWII, and later the Special Service). Shirley Ann Thacker (WAVE). Just two of the interviews from the extensive collection of material (photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, oral histories and posters) at the Women Veterans Historical Collection.
Normandy: Then and Now Photographs of Normandy in 1944 meticulously juxtaposed with how the area looks today by French historian Patrick Elie.
"Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak is in Georgia for The Wall Street Journal. His photographic essays from the region span two decades and tell a moving story of the people and now war there." [more inside]
Andrija Ilic is a photographer from Belgrade, Serbia. He uses photography to document social change to his environment and events in his homeland. He has covered some of the most important events in the region: war in Kosovo in 1998, NATO maneuvers in Italy in 1998 and intervention in 1999, numerous anti-regime protests 1996-2000, events surrounding the fall of government in Belgrade in October 2000, the crisis in southern Serbia. More recently, he has published new photos from the conflict in Israel and Palestine, every day life in Gaza, and reportage from the Faroe Islands. [some images NSFW - war violence and gore] [more inside]
Prvi svetski rat - Gritty and poignant Serbian postcards from the First World War. Just one of the seriously interesting (e.g. check out the collection of 78s) holdings at the Digital National Library of Serbia.
American-Dutch photographer Peter van Agtmael and English photographer Olivia Arthur are the two newest nominees recently welcomed into Magnum Photos. Agtmael's images of Afghanistan and Iraq are very powerful - he discusses his work in Conscientious. Arthur's recent work has focused on women's experiences in what she calls the Middle Distance. [more inside]
Satellites Document War, Destruction From Outer Space. The AAAS's Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project uses high-resolution satellite photography to detect and call attention to human rights violations.
People can handle the truth about war. Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas reflects on how the media's willingness to show the horrors of war has changed since Vietnam.
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