Shedding light on war: Women war photographers

Photo Above: Francoise Demulder picture of massacre at Palestinian Refugee Camp

While America is angsting out over Trump, here’s another perspective on the World outside the borders of Pax Trump Americana

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 3.8.20919

Long considered a man’s domain, conflicts have also been captured by women photographers. Their images often add a unique perspective to the sight of war and its toll on civilians, as a new Dusseldorf exhibition reveals.

Women photojournalists have been capturing war on film for nearly a century now — starting with the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, when portable cameras first made spontaneous snapshots possible. Yet conflict has long remained a field dominated by men, not only as war photographers but also actors and perpetrators of atrocities.

Women War Photogs DW 3.13.1029

“Women War Photographers,” an exhibition that opened March 8 at Dusseldorf’s Kunstpalast Museum, hopes to change that. It draws the works of eight women conflict photographers into focus. The exhibition covers a large swath of 20th-century conflicts in images and sheds new light on the view of women’s roles in war. Women are seen both as victim and perpetrator in the photographs chosen for the show.

“The images on display do not confirm the stereotype that there is such a thing as a ‘female’ perspective but rather show that these eight photographers employed different methods and visual imagery to bear haunting witness to these events,” the curators write in the exhibition catalogue. The exhibition includes images by Gerda Taro, Anja Niedringhaus, Carolyn Cole, Susan Meiselas, Lee Miller, Francoise Demulder, Christine Spengler and Catherine Leroy.

Women War Photogs IV 3.13.2019

Those images of war, even in distant lands, have likewise come closer to home with the advent of digital photography and plethora of images available online. They have made the realities of war something accessible to all who seek it out.

As the exhibition makes clear, a plurality of perspectives — including those of women — is necessary to gain a full understanding of war and its full capacity to harm. As the curators write, women do not necessarily have their own “female” view on conflict, yet the scenes they present to the world are just as vital in creating an accurate picture of the atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries.

“Women War Photographers” runs at the Kunstpalast in Dusseldorf from March 8 through June 10.

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