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Private Pictures: Soldiers' Inside View of War by [Struk, Janina]
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Private Pictures: Soldiers' Inside View of War Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Description


'Through her compelling, well-researched stories that span the wars of the past hundred years, Janina Struk has given us a thought provoking perspective on soldiers' wartime pictures that shows that professional photography has fallen short of giving a complete picture of war - an original groundbreaking work and a good read.' --Andy McNab

About the Author

Janina Struk is a freelance documentary photographer, writer and lecturer. She is the author of the acclaimed book, Photographing the Holocaust: Interpretations of the Evidence (I.B.Tauris, 2004), which presents a history and critique of images taken during the Holocaust, 1939-1945.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4657 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1848854439
  • Publisher: I.B.Tauris; 1 edition (30 Sept. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006OOBJ5Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,428,621 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have ever looked at pictures in history books showing the Holocaust or images of the Second World War on the Eastern Front and wondered about the photographer who took the images and why and how when logic suggests that private cameras would be banned from combat areas then this book will be of interest.

Ranging from the infamous American Abu Ghraib prison photographs to the soldier portraits (khaki portraits) sent back to family and loved ones, through the private photo albums of the Second World War (many now being sold on internet auction sites) back to the faked Daily Mirror pictures meant to show ill treatment of Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers and then to Israeli Defence Forces in the Occupied Territories, this book sets out to answer a multitude of questions about why servicemen and women take, swap and keep photographs - particularly of atrocities and enemy dead - often for years without looking at them.

The emphasis is on the motives of the 'ordinary' soldier - the person who is a professional soldier first and an amateur photographer second. Professional photographers are very much on the sidelines.

By using interviews and her own extensive investigations of archived material and recent exhibitions, the author (an accomplished documentary photographer and lecturer) finds many answers.

As would be expected these answers are many and varied and at times even owe something to being encouraged by government and the media in an effort to get away from what at various times is seen as the 'composed' (or contrived) mainstream press photograph to a more 'real' and 'raw' image stripped of its artfulness.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book on how photography has shaped our perceptions of war. It's interesting and it is informative.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9de9bfc0) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0x9de4d15c) out of 5 stars She asks why do soldiers create images of themselves commiting brutality? 11 Jan. 2016
By lyndonbrecht - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this short book by accident, as I was browsing for another topic. The book looks at soldiers' photographs of war, shading to phone cams and such for more recent wars such as the actions in Iraq--the author is British, so much of the consideration is material British soldiers took. Struk sees several characteristics of soldiers' images of war: touristy (her phrase) shots, images of colleagues and social events, fascination with local people (especially those that are seen as "other"), military brutality and the dead. Struk is interested in why soldiers would take images of brutality, given the potential for highly negative results, such as being court-martialed. Struk's personal view of the military can't easily be determined, but she seems opposed to the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has written an earlier book on World War 2 German soldiers' photos of atrocities.

The book has a lot of interesting information, some of which is dated given the ubiquity these days of phone cams and other imaging technology that is likely vastly increasing the number and speed of such imagery (this is my assumption). Chapter 1 is primarily a discussion of the infamous Abu Ghraib (her spelling) photographs. Chapter 2 discusses World War 1 (and a little before) soldiers taking photos, apparently on a large scale despite official discouragement. Chapter 3 is titled "Telling Tales," which I found a little weak. Chapter 4, "Photographs as Resistance" is about Poland in the World War 2 era--documenting Polish resistance and what was done by the Germans, for use in the future (this also gets into the politics of the Polish in exile, those based in London and those directed by the Soviets).

Chapter 5 considers how images can harm a nation, looking at those infamous German solders' images. This gets tricky because some of the images that erupted in controversy in the 1990s appear to have been actually of Soviet atrocity, faked or otherwise questionable. The issue is huge for Germans in the sense that photographs document the involvement of everyday German military in atrocity, contradicting long-held assumptions that such crimes were done by Nazis. Chapter 6 examines the case of several British soldiers accused of brutality based on photos taken in Iraq. Chapter 7 discusses images documenting Israeli conduct in the occupied territory--documented by Israelis, in a chapter called "Breaking the Silence." This is likely to be the most controversial section of the book for readers.

The last chapter discusses images of Iraq, including American soldiers' images--she says many appear on web sites, including a sizable number of short videos made by soldiers (despite official prohibition), and a few on pornographic sites--Struk sees something of a connection between pornographic image usual formats and images of violence.
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