Short-listed for the 2015 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Catalogue of the Year Award
Photographs and their captions have a tendency to deceive and mislead, and even the most direct reportage is folded into layers of misunderstanding and forgetfulness. Sometimes this is deliberate and sometimes it's accidental. Arching over all war photography is the portrayal of heroism: to find a war photograph that shows something completely non-heroic is all but impossible. Cowerdice simply doesn't appear unless it's disguised as humour, when it subtly moves back to the heroic. A photograph of war with an engaging caption, draws the viewer into its fiction. With the passing of time it becomes accepted as truth and breeds a collective amnesia about a sequence of events or a moment in history.
Published to accompany the Archive of Modern Conflict’s contribution to the exhibition ‘Conflict, Time, Photography’ at Tate Modern in 2015. The show consists of photographs taken during and after conflicts, with their proximity in time from the conflict becoming more distant as the exhibition goes on.
The book ‘frames’, crops and extracts content from the walls of the Archive’s two rooms that infiltrate the Tate’s exhibition. Its format allows for a more detailed, focused look at this work, juxtaposing animal cruelty in WWI trenches, staged demonstrations of heroism and excerpt of quotes on Amnesia displayed in over-sized text.