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War Photographers As Storytellers: A Library Program and Booklist

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War Photographers As Storytellers: A Library Program and Booklist

war photographers

Throughout history, war photography has played a pivotal role in communicating to the general public what is happening in conflicts around the world.  War photojournalists expose the horrors of armed conflict to civilians and immortalize these events through their images.  Many photographers put themselves in harm’s way as they record the reality of war, and try to report it back to the rest of us.

In his introduction to the book of interviews with war photographers, photojournalist  Michael Kamber notes “Photographers are storytellers; most love to talk.” 

On November 6 at 7pm, we present a talk “Conflict in Images and Words: War Photographers As Storytellers”, by photographer and philologist Joanna Madloch  that juxtaposes photographic works of the most prominent war correspondents with their memoirs and interviews. 

Joanna will present topics war correspondents discuss in their writing, including the importance and impact of their job, its side-effects, moral doubts, and, most importantly, how they survive war and conflict assignments.  She will focus on the photographers’ opinions on war itself, moral questions their work creates, as well as their concept of purpose of their incredibly dangerous and difficult mission.

To delve more into the world and works of some trail blazing war photographers and correspondents check out these books and a DVD available in the Livingston Library collection.

auschwitz photograpger

The Auschwitz Photographer : the Forgotten Story of the WWII Prisoner who Documented Thousands of Lost Souls by Luca Crippa

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, photographer Wilhelm Brasse was sent to Auschwitz. His inability to condone the Third Reich and swear allegiance to Hitler landed him at one of the deadliest concentration camps of WWII. There, he was forced to record the camp’s atrocities. From 1940-1945, Brasse took more than 50,000 photos of the nightmare that surrounded him. Brasse’s role earned him Nazi favor, but he couldn’t bear to hide behind his camera. He resisted, faking documents for prisoners and smuggling photos to the outside world. When the war ended, he refused orders to destroy his records. Many of the people that appeared in Brasse’s photos perished, but he wouldn’t discard the memories of who they were. A hauntingly true story of a man who made sure the world couldn’t turn a blind eye to the Holocaust, this book honors Wilhelm Brasse, the photographer who immortalized the horrific atrocities we should, and must, never forget.

Civil War Battlefields: Then and Now by James Campi

Documenting the rise and fall of the Confederacy between 1861 and 1865 was a new figure on the battlefield: the war photographer. The Civil War was the first major conflict to be recorded by cameras and men such as Mathew Brady, George Barnard and Timothy O’Sullivan made their names by capturing unforgettable images of death and destruction. This book uses many of these photographers’ classic images and revisits the sites to show how they look today. Arranged chronologically, the book begins with the attack on Fort Sumter in 1861, journeys through the major battle sites in Virginia, and ends at Appomattox Court House in 1865, with the epitaph of the Lincoln assassination.

Close Up On War by Mary Cronk Farrell

Farrell tells the story of French-born Catherine Leroy, one of the Vietnam War’s few woman photographers, who documented some of the fiercest fighting in the 20-year conflict. Despite being told that women didn’t belong in a “man’s world,” she was cool under fire, gravitated toward the thickest battles, went along on the soldiers’ slogs through the heat and mud of the jungle, crawled through rice paddies, and became the only official photojournalist to parachute into combat with American soldiers. Later, Leroy was gravely wounded from shrapnel, but that didn’t keep her down more than a month. When captured by the North Vietnamese in 1968, she talked herself free after photographing her captors, scoring a cover story in Life magazine. A recipient of the George Polk Award, one of the most prestigious awards in journalism, Leroy was one of the most well-known photographers in the world during her time.

The Correspondents : Six Women writers Who Went to War by Judith Mackrell

On the front lines of the Second World War, the lives of six remarkable women intertwined: Lee Miller, the Vogue cover model and photographer who lived in Paris as Man Ray’s lover before becoming a war correspondent for the magazine; Martha Gellhorn, the third wife of Ernest Hemingway and a novelist in her own right; Sigrid Schultz, an indisputably brave journalist who withstood surveillance, interrogation, and death threats in order to publish the truth from Berlin; Virginia Cowles, whose career as a ‘society girl columnist’ turned combat reporter began with an exclusive interview with Mussolini; Clare Hollingworth, who had almost no professional experience when she became the first correspondent to report the outbreak of World War II; and Helen Kirkpatrick, a reporter so admired by the military that at the order of General Eisenhower she was the first woman to report from an Allied war zone with equal privileges to men. This book paints a vivid, intimate, and nuanced portrait of these pioneering women, from chasing down sources to conducting clandestine love affairs. With her riveting and meticulous history, Mackrell reconsiders the narrative of the war from a new perspective.

First To the Front : the Untold Story of Dickey Chapelle, Trailblazing Female War Correspondent by Lorissa Rinehart

From the beginning of World War II through the early days of Vietnam, groundbreaking female photojournalist and war correspondent Dickey Chapelle chased dangerous assignments her male colleagues wouldn’t touch, pioneering a radical style of reporting that focused on the humanity of the oppressed. She documented conditions across Eastern Europe in the wake of the second world war. She marched down the Ho Chi Minh Trail with the South Vietnamese Army and across the Sierra Maestra Mountains with Castro. She was the first reporter accredited with the Algerian Revolutionary Army, and survived torture in a communist Hungarian prison. She dove out of planes, faked her own kidnapping, and endured the mockery of male associates, before ultimately dying on assignment in Vietnam with the Marines in 1965, the first American woman killed in combat. Chapelle overcame discrimination and abuse, both on the battlefield and at home, with much of her work ultimately buried from the public eye-until now. Rinehart uncovers the incredible life and unparalleled achievements of this true pioneer, and the mark she would make on history.

lives of lee miller

The Lives of Lee Miller by Anthony Penrose

Collected in this compelling volume are the many lives of Lee Miller, intimately recorded by her son, Antony Penrose, whose years of work on her photographic archives have unearthed a rich selection of her finest work, including portraits of her friends Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Max Ernst, Paul Eluard, and Joan Miro. Starting in 1927 in New York, this volume chronicles Lee Miller as she is discovered as a model by Conde Nast, hits the cover of Vogue, and is immortalized by Edward Steichen, George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst, and other acclaimed photographers. From there, readers follow Miller to Paris where she, along with Man Ray, invented the solarization technique of photography, and where she developed into a brilliant Surrealist photographer. Finally, this account covers the later chapters of her life, when she became a war correspondent during World War II, traveling with the Allied armies to cover the siege of Saint-Malo and the liberation of Paris, which led to her photographs of the Dachau concentration camp that shocked the world.

Of Love & War by Lynsey Addario

Lynsey Addario has captured audiences with her disarming and compelling photographs and her uncanny ability to personalize even the most remote corners of our world. Here, the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist returns with a stunning collection of more than two hundred of her photographs from across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. In her distinctively powerful dramatic style, Addario documents life in Afghanistan under the Taliban, the stark truth of sub-Saharan Africa, and the daily reality of women in the Middle East, as well as much more. Featuring revelatory essays from esteemed writers, such as Dexter Filkins and Suzy Hansen, and public figures, like Christy Turlington, this book is an utterly compelling and singular statement about the world, and all its inescapable chaos and conflict, from one of the most brilliant and influential journalists working today in any medium.

Sweet Caress : The Many Lives of Amory Clay by William Boyd

When Amory Clay was born, in the decade before the Great War, her disappointed father gave her an androgynous name and announced the birth of a son. But this daughter was not one to let others define her; Amory became a woman who accepted no limits to what that could mean, and, from the time she picked up her first camera, one who would record her own version of events. Moving freely between London and New York, between photojournalism and fashion photography, and between the men who love her on complicated terms, Amory establishes her reputation as a risk taker and a passionate life traveler. Her hunger for experience draws her to the decadence of Weimar Berlin and the violence of London’s blackshirt riots, to the Rhineland with Allied troops and into the political tangle of war-torn Vietnam. In her ambitious career, the seminal moments of the 20th century will become the unforgettable moments of her own biography, as well. Amory Clay comes wondrously to life in this book, her vibrant personality enveloping the reader from the start. And, running through the novel, her photographs over the decades allow us to experience this vast story not only with Amory’s voice but with her vision.

Underfire: The Untold Story of PFC. Tony Vaccaro DVD

The remarkable story of WWII infantryman and photographer Tony Vaccaro, who created one of the most comprehensive, haunting and intimate photographic records of the war using a smuggled $47 camera while developing the negatives in his helmet at night.

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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