How has the media portrayed the military? Have the images produced through the news, Facebook, YouTube and other forms of media dissemination have influenced our views on the military? I would submit that photography has played a major role in the United State’s cultural view on the military. Let’s look at some historical examples of still images that were produced on a mass level.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -We see humor to depict a show of force and what the US deems as military supremacy. Often times pictures like this are taken by service members. Many of those in the military have a rather morbid and cynical sense of humor. The two photos above are rather mild in contrast to some you may find.
When man’s need to learn about the realities of war, or rather our curiosity became too great, we decided to send men and women into war zones… without weapons. These men and women, armed with only cameras, often times lose their lives or worse. Check out some of the photos taken by war correspondents.
Three of the four photos were taken in Vietnam and the final photo in Iraq. In the first and fourth photo, the journalist is in an area with increased safety when compared to those of the middle two photographs. The number two photograph depicts the horrors followed by intense battle. As the survivors pull there wounded and killed brothers from the bloody field, the journalist, probably coming from behind cover, snaps the photograph.
Perhaps the most famous wartime photograph ever taken is the photo of United States Marines raising the colors on Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. The Second World War, a horrendously bloody and devastating campaign is often immortalized by this photo. Defining a generation, crystalizing American spirit and continuously used as a source of pride among the ranks.
Another form of military photography, used just as widely to engineer public sentiment, are training photos. In these photos we see more detail and an increase of tactical situations. This makes sense of course. The general public wants to see intriguing photographs depicting military might. These photos incorporate vibrant colors, interesting angles and lots of depth of field. All elements of photography come together in fine form to encourage public support of the military.
Here are some of my favorite examples.
Interesting Angles, Depth of Field, Leading Lines, Rule of Thirds, Vibrant Color
Shameless plug for my favorite tank.
- Looking Back At Iconic Iwo Jima (npr.org)