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War photography as a genre stands alone, it exists to record events, inform, provoke discussion and perhaps above all show the destruction that war causes and the very real effect that global conflict and terror have on those who are forced to endure them.
The photos do not have to capture active battles, or horrific injuries - with the right attention to detail a war photographer can capture the despair of a situation on anyone’s face or in a war-torn town.
It has been impossible to avoid listening to the news articles emerging as a result of the events of the Ukraine-Russia War. The news is filled with photos of bombed buildings, innocent civilians fleeing and large crowds of women, children and the elderly. However, these are not the only photographs emerging. Photographers at the border between Poland and Ukraine, and one in particular – Peter Turnley – have been producing some incredibly powerful black and white images that capture the anguish of those who are fleeing the country and leaving behind those members of their families who are staying to fight. These are images that capture every sense of emotion, with no staging, just candid shots that show the truth of the Ukraine-Russia War.
Some Iconic Images
Famous War photos from over the years have given us some incredibly iconic images. One of the most famous is perhaps “Napalm Girl”, this image was captured in 1972 and shows a group of terrified children running in the aftermath of an aerial napalm attack that took place near one of the suspected Viet Cong hiding places. One of the children is naked as a result of tearing her clothes off to get away from the napalm which was burning her skin. There are soldiers in the background. The image is haunting and the terror on the children’s faces is clear to all.
War photos do not have to depict global conflict and terror, though. They can also portray the joy that people felt at the end of a war. There is an iconic picture taken in Time Square on V-J Day, that shows an American sailor grabbing a dental nurse and kissing her. The pair were strangers, the moment was spontaneous.
Of course, some of the saddest famous War photos are those that depict the liberation of survivors from the concentration camps of WWII. The sea of emaciated individuals who had endured so much lost so much but in many cases still smiled for the cameras at being freed. These photos document a moment in history that we should never forget.
BA Photography at the University of Bolton – Documenting the Future
If photography is your passion and something that you are considering studying further in order to make taking famous War photos part of your career, then choosing to do a degree in photography can be the best first step to take on the road to what can be a very rewarding career path.
At the University of Bolton, we offer a BA Photography course that can help you gain a further understanding of your craft. Our state-of-the-art setting and specialist creative lecturers can provide you with the perfect setting for gaining the expertise and skills that you need to pursue a career in the competitive world of photography.
The University of Bolton has been voted 1st in the North West of England for teaching quality for the second year running*. Not only this, but the inclusive, diverse community we’ve created here allows every student the chance to experience #UniAsItShouldBe.
If you would like to learn more about the university or our photography courses, we would be delighted to talk to you. Our team of friendly advisors can be contacted at +44 (0)1204 900 600 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. To browse our photography courses, simply click here.
*The Times and The Sunday Times 2022, 2021