Photography in War Zones

After seeing Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now I decided to research into current and perhaps older photographers who have photographed war zones, or the aftermath of wars.

The first photographer who came to my mind was and Simon Norfolk who is well known for his photographs of Afghanistan.

After seeing his photographs and comparing them to those that I saw of Rwanda, I realised that his photographs still show that a war was happening but they don’t show the hopelessness or despair or convey as much emotion as those in the Rwanda exhibition.

Another photographer who I thought of is Don McCullin who has been photographing wars for many decades.

Don McCullin’s photographs convey a lot of emotion, I think. The way that he captures his subjects and portrays them doesn’t seem overly sympathetic or as though he felt sorry for them. I think that he was just photographing what he saw, without worrying about if the images would be too graphic or emotional to show people.
In a book about his photography, the author has written about war photography, “There are questions to be asked. Who caused what the picture shows? Who is responsible? Is it excusable? Was it inevitable?  Is there some state of affairs which we’ve accepted up to now that ought to be challenged?”(Delpire, R, Don McCullin, Thames & Hudson, 2007, 5-6). I think that McCullin’s photographs ask us all of these questions and make us think about what is happening in the world around us, in other countries.



Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now

It’s not often that I visit an exhibition that makes me cry. Often I find that I have no emotional connection to photographs and I like them from a purely aesthetic standpoint. But this exhibition was different. As soon as I stepped through the door to the exhibition in Somerset house I could feel emotion pouring out of the photographs. The genocide in Rwanda happened the year before I was born so I knew nothing about it. The first time I visited this show I felt like I was missing something so I went and did a bit more research about it, and I think that helped me connect to the photographs more this time. The photographs themselves are full of colour, even when depicting something less than pleasant and the photographers showed their love for this torn country through their images. Most of them have never had any formal training, yet they are some of the best photographs I have seen. Perhaps not technically the best, but I connected to them so much more than any other photograph I have seen. Some of the photographs were filled with such despair and hopelessness, whereas others contained hope and happiness. I thought that the variety in the way of presenting the photographs was excellent and kept the exhibition from feeling monotonous and samey. IMAG1693 IMAG1688 IMAG1697 IMAG1713 IMAG1720 IMAG1722 IMAG1727 IMAG1746 IMAG1748


Photographers with work in Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now:

Andrew Esiebo
Brendan Bannon
Jenny Matthews
Timothy Chester
Claudia Ingabire
John Mbanda
Cyril Ndegeya
Jean Luc Habyarimana
Yves Manzi
Fabrice Musafiri
Jacqueline Rutagarama
George Baryamwisaki
Jean Bizimana