Traces of war
War photography tends to focus on actual acts of combat. A photo exhibition in Essen's Folkwang Museum, however, shows another perspective: scars left behind by various wars on landscapes and faces.
State of shock
Moribund with fear: a US soldier, a few minutes after a grenade attack occurred in the Vietnam War. The famous snapshot, which went around the globe, was taken in1968 by British photojournalist Don McCullin, who was photographing in amongst US troops. Such images radically changed the way in which the public perceived the brutality of wars and their consequences.
Rising from the ruins
The devastation caused by the Second World War is documented in very different photographic works in the exhibition. International photojournalists traveled across postwar Germany in an attempt to capture the remains of Hitler's "Third Reich." In 1946, the members of the Photographic Society Essen came together for a "Photo Safari" around the ruins.
Line in the sand
Landscapes scarred by war: After the end of the first Gulf War in 1991, the photographer Sophie Ristelhueber traveled to Kuwait for seven months in order to document traces of military fighting in the desert: "When I strolled around the area shoes stripped off somebody's feet popped up right next to tank tracks and bomb craters." She presents her pictures in multi-part tableaus.
Bombs for the Taliban
Only moments after a US bombing raid on Taliban positions, the photographer Luc Delahaye shot these pictures. After years as a war reporter on the front line, he has distanced himself more and more from the brutalities of war. Since 2001, he has worked with a large format camera focusing no longer on chaos and violence, but rather on more quiet moments such as this.
Victims of civil war
Over two decades, a bloody civil war raged through the Democratic Republic of Congo killing 5.4 million people and making 2.9 million homeless. Photographer Jim Goldberg's tremendous long-term project "Open See" focuses on the fate of these peoples. In 2008, he visited refugee camps and civil war locations in former Zaire capturing these pictures.
"Shot at Dawn" by photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews is one of the most impressive works of the exhibition. In 2013, she set out on an archeological journey to First World War locations. She did not travel to the combat fields, but to locations where war deserters lost their lives - including this location, where deserters were shot at dawn without leaving a trace.
As a writer, Kurt Vonnegut has contributed to this exhibition on war, conflict and time not by means of traditional photography, but a poetic essay. Vonnegut had survived the bomb attacks on Dresden in February 1945. It took him 24 years to come to terms with what he had witnessed there. The title of his memoirs says it all: "Slaughterhouse-Five."
The original concept ´for this ambitious photo exhibition comes from Simon Baker, the chief curator of photography and international art at the Tate Modern in London, and the curator Shoair Mavlian. Instead of producing a map documenting the countless wars of history, they decided to catalogue the works in terms of when they were produced: from days to months, and years