War/Photography is a genre-defining exhibition currently on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. And also the last place I wanted to find myself on a sunny midweek morning.
As a photojournalist and picture editor, I’ve consumed my fair share of conflict photography, essays and films. How could this exhibition possibly be any different from all the other shows I’ve seen in this vein?
After all, it has the usual array of iconic war photographs: the falling soldier during the Spanish Civil War, Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima and the Vietnamese general executing a suspected Viet Cong member.
And the catalog boasts an impressive list of legendary conflict photographers, going as far back to Roger Fenton and Alexander Gardner in the 1800s to more contemporary names like Don McCullin, James Natchwey and Carolyn Cole.
The strength of the exhibition, however, lies not in the specifics, but in the presentation of our collective war story.
Photo Credit: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters, Gerda Taro/International Center of Photography, Jonathan Torgovnik and David Burnett/Contact Press Images