Annotated bibliographies Theme: media and war wwii era Jonathan Ives Vietnam era



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Vietnam era

Andrew Baron

Brothers, Caroline (1997), chap. 10. War and Photography. London, England: Routledge.


Brothers makes the argument that due to the photographic freedom in Vietnam, the media created what was called a “living room war. This is to say that carefully selected images were broadcasted to the public via televisions creating the impression that the media was fundamentally against the war. In turn this resulted in a structurally and fundamentally ignorant public, whose only contextual concern was for an onslaught of ambiguous, gory combat photos. She states that “photograph plays a powerful role in arenas far from the scene of hostility”, emphasizing the importance of the representation of an image over the presentation of the facts.


Williams, Val (1994). Chap. 4. Warworks: Women, Photography, and the Iconography of War. Leeds, England: Virago Press Limited.


Williams’ perspective is that female photojournalists are institutionally forced to dwell in the shadows of their male counterparts. In the case of the Vietnam War although there was a relatively even distribution of male and female photographers, the photos which have become iconography are predominantly taken of and by males. At the same time, she affirms Martha Roslers’s series of photographs in House Beautiful as taking a completely new and fresh perspective which displays a kind of symbolic patriotism.

Page, Tim (1997). Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina. New York, NY: Random House


This is a compilation by and sometimes of the 135 photographers who died while shooting in Vietnam and Indochina. It contains hundreds of images as well as captions and commentary by the photographers who created the photographs. A bulk of the images show Vietnamese soldiers interrogating, capturing, and killing Viet Cong suspects, which creates a certain thematic framing throughout the book.

Durrance, Dick (1988). Where War Lives. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.


This book also contains little text. It is a photographic journal of images taken in Vietnam by the author. It is the evolution of the “soldier” from initial entry into the armed forces, to the journey to Vietnam, to becoming a soldier, than to a warrior…then coming home. The perspective is inherently that of an insider. It really gives a precise feel what it was like to be a kid going over to fight a war you knew nothing about, and coming out a true soldier, or not coming out at all.

Mills, Nick (1983). The Vietnam Experience: Combat Photography. Boston, MA: Boston Publishing Company.


This is a record of the thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, and airmen who were assigned as combat photographers. Not only is it a visual account of the Vietnam War, it is an account of being a soldier, or some affiliate “living” or at least attempting to survive in Vietnam during the war. While the book is separated into several categories, which do include combat, it is for the majority exclusive of that-including narrative text and photographs-outside of the mainstream bloody combat imagery.

McCullin, Don (1980). Hearts of Darkness. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf


This is a well-noted chronology of dramatic photos taken by the author throughout the course of the Vietnam Conflict. It is different from the above sources in that it is predominantly images portraying the strife of the [Vietnamese] people with virtually no attention to military combat. Besides captions, there is no text.

Cookman, Claude H. (2000, Jan.) Marc Riboud in North Vietnam: Seeing the War From the Other Side. News Photographer, pp. 3-6.


Cookman notes Riboud’s use of “photographic humanism” in his series of photos in a 1969 Look Magazine article. Instead of shooting images of soldiers or the wounded, photographers like Riboud, a member of Magnum Photos, chose to construct a sequence of images of ordinary people, in order to capture a humanistic realism. Riboud approached aesthetics in a completely different way in that he was more concerned with the emotions and the plight of the Vietnamese people.

Sherer, Michael (1989). Vietnam War Photos and Public Opinion. Stamm, Keith (ed.), Journalism Quarterly (Vol. 66) pp. 391-395. Ohio: School of Journalism, Ohio University.


From data taken from a study, Sherer states that there were is a correlation of framing of war photographs and public opinion about the war, grouped into three stages. In the beginning of the war, when public opinion was the strongest, imagery was that of American forces and military equipment in combat related non-combat situations. When the support was more or less divided evenly, images were mostly long shots of American Forces in life threatening situations. Finally, when the support for the war dropped off, the style of the photos were much like the beginning, but instead of American forces, images were of allied personnel and such.

Stein, Jean (1998). Only the Heads Survive. Stein, Jean (ed.), Grand Street (Vol. 14) pp. 213-219. Toronto, ON: Decant.


Closeup images of American soldiers’ Zippo lighters from the war. The lighters all have different engravings on them, such as “Only the Heads Survive”, among many other quotes, sayings, and anti-Vietnamese statements. Shot by famous photographer Larry Burrows, these images are completely different than any other from the war. They show a more personal side of the soldiers themselves, unlike other photos that only show them ambiguously, or are mugshots of the MIA.

Leroy, Catherine (1968, Feb.) “Soldiers of North Vietnam Strike up a Pose for Her Camera”: LIFE Magazine, pp. 22-29.


Leroy’s article shows the the pen and camera can sometimes be just as mighty as the “sword” in times of battle. She managed allowance into Hue in North Vietnam to document the enemy. As one of the only photographers who were granted close access to this part of Vietnam, Leroy’s photo-essay is rather intetesting. Not only did she capture many images of civilians, she also talked with them and wrote down their accord. This article is a narrative essay of her experience.
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