The public’s perception of military conflicts has been indelibly shaped by such renowned war photographers as Robert Capa and James Nachtwey. However, the long history of female photographers in conflict regions has never received the attention it deserves, though the fates of those depicted in their photos have had an equally strong impact on our image of war. In contrast to their male colleagues, women photographers were more readily granted unrestricted access to the families and other parties involved in past conflicts. As a result, their photos often mirror the human dimension of war in extraordinary clarity.
As part of its exhibition “At War”, the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf presents some 120 photos by women photographers from conflicts of the past 80 years. These include intimate moments of people living their everyday lives in times of war, the documentation of atrocities and the remarkable absurdity of armed conflicts, e.g. during the Second World War and Vietnam War. The narrative strategies of the eight featured photographers – from Lee Miller to Anja Niedringhaus – modulate between preserving objective distance, offering immediacy and expressing compassion. The exhibition features photos taken during the European conflicts of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as more recent theatres of war from all around the world. The project includes the publication of an extensive accompanying catalogue.
Curators: Anne-Marie Beckmann, Felicity Korn
Photographers: Carolyn Cole (US), Françoise Demulder (FR), Catherine Leroy (FR), Susan Meiselas (US), Lee Miller (US), Anja Niedringhaus, Christine Spengler (FR), Gerda Taro