Brighton Photo Biennial: Images of War, War of Images


Seen through a night-vision device, paratroopers conduct a raid on a suspected terrorist’s home in Fallujah, Iraq. The Soldiers are assigned to the 82nd Airbourne Division’s Company B, 1st Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. This photo appeared on © U.S Army

These are not your usual war photographs, not the ones that we see and don’t have to think about anymore. This is a profoundly disturbing and intelligent exhibition of war as it has been recorded by both sides of a conflict, by professionals and amateurs, by propagandists and fine artists, by soldiers and photojournalists and civilians and anonymous people who were there with cell phone cameras.
Curator Julian Stallabrass has pulled together a real tour de force for the 2008 Brighton Photo Biennial, and his commentary is equally engaging and enlightening.
“The idea of a “war of images” is a means of trying to get at the way that images can be used as warfare in various respects: that the making and use of images can be a part of the conflict, as well as merely recording it.”
— Brighton Photo Biennial Curator Julian Stallabrass, in an interview with Guy Lane
And a few more quotes:
“And the other thing — and this is why Rumsfeld talks about the war of images — is that one rarely saw photographs taken by the other side, as it were, in previous conflicts. Now, with the availability of cheap digital cameras and the web, almost anything is available.”
“[Recent large format photographs of the aftermath of war] are very much not about the quotidian need to produce daily images of spectacular horror.”
The complete interview, and 20 photos, can be found here in Lens Culture, courtesy of writer Guy Lane and Foto8 magazine.
WARNING: Some images may be considered unsuitable for viewing by children, and may be disturbing to viewers of any age.

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