AfterimagesPhotography and U.S. Foreign Policy

AfterimagesPhotography and U.S. Foreign Policy

Liam Kennedy

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780226337265

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Afterimages is a study of the role of photography, more particularly photojournalism, in the documentation and communication of wars and conflicts involving the United States since the Vietnam War. The book focuses on photographers who have worked to push the boundaries of photojournalism, adapting it to new conditions of warfare and media production, and whose work illuminates the geopolitics of the American worldview. These are photographers who have produced a meditative form of conflict photography, an “afterimagery” of conflicts and contexts, bound not to spot news reporting but to a more investigative framing of events which reflects on the contexts and scenery of war. The book will examine the ideological and affective conditions of visuality that attend the American worldview, to consider some of the ways in which photojournalism plays a key role in both supporting and challenging it, particularly with regard to the framing of violence carried out by the state. Running throughout Afterimages is an inquiry into the high value (ethical, socio-political, legalistic) that continues to be placed on the power of the still image to bear witness. It presages a number of questions that echo across the chapters. How has the role of the image-maker as witness evolved? What capacities for critique do images maintain? What new visual vocabularies are emerging to represent new forms of war? Afterimages argues and demonstrates through close analysis that photographic images are important means for critical reflection on war, violence and human rights.