Photojournalism in Europe, 1920-1970

Photograph taken by Colonel Meches on April 12, 1945, upon the liberation of the Ohrdruf camp (Germany).
Photograph taken by the Agence Meurisse, showing the start of a militia attack in the Spanish Civil War, 1937. Source: Gallica
Photograph taken by Captain Horton showing Winston Churchill inspecting English defences near Hartlepool in July 1940. This photograph was later altered by Nazi propaganda to present the British Prime Minister as a gangster. Source: IWM
Photograph taken by Yevgeny Khaldei on May 2, 1945, entitled “The red flag on the Reichstag.” Source: Flickr

War photography experienced its golden age from the interwar period to the 1970s, particularly in Western Europe. It was driven by the mythical figures of major reporters and magazines and drew on the many technical and technological transformations that marked photography since its invention in the nineteenth century. It was used by totalitarian regimes for a time but has now lost its monopoly over the image as a repository of reality and truth to other media, such as television and the Internet. The genre subsequently found other forms of expression to represent war, which are more artistic and less focused on the event itself than on the emotion it arouses in the audience as seen through the photographer’s gaze.