War is one of photography’s most poignant subjects. Photographers from all over the world have risked their lives, and still do, to capture images of horror and death. Images that tell the truth about war, in ways, so compelling, they change the world forever. I remember one such photograph.
Growing up in my grandmother’s house meant having access to a large LIFE special edition hardcover that contained, among many others, that haunting Eddie Adams photo of a South Vietnamese general summarily executing a Viet Cong prisoner in a Saigon street in February 1, 1968. I still can’t look at that photo for too long.
But there were also images that captured the hope and joy that was in war’s aftermath. Like Sal Veder’s Pulitzer prize winning photo of United States Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Stirm reuniting with his family after being held captive in North Vietnam for five years. There’s even romance. Who doesn’t know Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day in Times Square kiss? Do you know the true story behind it? And that another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, actually took the same photo from a different angle?
These iconic images, along with others never seen, taken by some 255 photographers, will be on exhibit along with other items such as postcards and camera equipment.
The WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY exhibit is currently at the Brooklyn Museum up to February 2, 2014.