Wednesday, October 17, 2007

War Stories

This article is a comparitive journalist piec of War Photography books written by famous Photographers. It has extracted gripping quotes about war and what it was like to be over there.

HERE'S no way around it," rues Michael Herr in Dispatches, the Under Fire of the Vietnam generation, "if you photographed a dead Marine with a poncho over his face and got something for it, you were some kind of parasite. But what were you if you pulled the poncho back first to make a better shot, and did that in front of his friends? Some other kind of parasite, I suppose. Then what were you if you stood there watching it, making a note to remember it later in case you might want to use it? Those combinations were infinite, you worked them out, and they involved only a small part of what we were thought to be. We were called thrill freaks, death-wishers, wound-seekers, war-lovers, hero-worshippers, closet queens, dope addicts, low-grade alcoholics, ghouls, communists, seditionists, more nasty things than I can remember. . . . And there were plenty of people who believed, finally, that we were nothing more than glorified war profiteers. And perhaps we were, those of us who didn't get killed or wounded or otherwise fucked up."

This is an incredibly honest quote and extremely real. Michael Herr was a war photography who has been through it all. He talks about how much war photographers were like the modern day paparazzi. They were ruthless scavengers who needed the perfect shot to make money. So they would stand in the face of death dozens of times...not be affected by taking a close up shot of a dead soldiers face. Watching someone get shot behind a lense. Its truly insane to think about that. I can't imagine the visuals that these men see everytime they close their eyes. It has to be atleast very similar to what soldiers see after they come back from war.

It continues on to talk about such things liek the government keeping dead american soldier images away from the public. Susan Sontag is then mentioned debating this saying that we NEED these images to make things real. We see so many of the same images every day that it gets to a certain point where the war becomes less real...we need to be shocked every once and a while. War Photography cannot be staged. There is no art in it in the sense of letting the photographer develop and plan the shot. War photographers base their careers on instinct. Whatever happens is what is captured. Nothing is planned. Thats why they dont get a second chance at their photographs.

A really cool quote i found from famous photographer David Douglas Duncan reads like a creed:

Be close-Be fast-Be lucky


Always remember

Be humane

Never close-ups of the dead

War is in the eyes

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