DC at Night

DC at Night

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath

While no photographic exhibition could capture the full scope, impact, and horror of war, the extensive, emotionally challenging, intellectually powerful Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath now on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art comes awfully close.

Beginning with a 4-shot series of the jet plane hitting the 2nd Twin Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and concluding with a somber single photo of a twisted wristwatch stopped at 11:02, the exact time on August 7, 1945 when the 1st atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the landmark exhibition immerses viewers in the life-changing experiences of soldiers and civilians in conflicts from the Mexican-American War to the current battles in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Images of Armed Conflict consists of 300 photos taken by 185 photographers from 25 countries of wars spanning 165 years on 6 continents.

The exhibition is arranged in a thematic arc. Areas examined pictorially include:

  • The advent of war
  • Recruitment, training, and embarkation
  • Media covering and dissemination
  • Patrol and troop movements
  • Resistance and sabotage
  • The wait
  • The fight
  • Rescue
  • Exhaustion and shell shock
  • Property destruction
  • Death
  • Burials and grief
  • Medicine
  • Camp life and daily routine
  • Leisure time
  • Civilians
  • Support
  • Faith
  • Children
  • Refugees
  • Iwo Jima
  • Executions
  • Retribution and homecoming
  • Victory/Defeat
  • Memorials
  • Remembrance
Heroes all - Those living and those who fall.

Tales, Tidbits, Tips

After viewing the exhibition, visitors are invited into the Reflection Room. One wall of that room contains the famous poem "In Flanders Field." The other 3 walls are covered with post-it cards bearing statements from visitors.  Here is a small sampling of those messages:
  • From Stalingrad to Iraq, every inch is clear - War no more
  • May my sons never see the fields of war
  • War is an unnecessary evil
  • Porque? Why?
  • Please accept my resignation from the human race
  • We must learned from history so we stop repeating this
You have until the September 29 closing date to view the exhibition and add your thoughts if you choose to the reflections wall. 

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