Reading Response 2: From the Fringes to the Frontlines

nicaragua-susan-meiselasAuthor Melanie Abrams explores the changing dynamics of the war photography field as more and more women enter the profession. Up until the 1970’s the quintessential war photographer was male. Although some women were taking photos of international conflict in that time many of them started by accompanying male photographers of the day.

Now women are on the front lines of conflict despite assumptions that females are less capable of the long, uncomfortable, and especially dangerous. Photographer Susan Meiselas really pioneered this in her photographs of the Nicaraguan Civil War in the 1970’s. Meiselas argues that women seem to capture conflict in a more emotional light. the common argument against women as war photographers is that they are not apt to capture conflict objectively. But emotional consequences and cause of war are part of war itself. Capturing the devastation behind the action allows viewers to respond in ways that are more personal. Meiselas also explains how her own experiences as a mother and as a woman lead her to shoot in a certain way.

Another obstacle to women in the war photography field is that women find themselves bargaining with patriarchy that keeps them from the action. They have figured out how to use this patronization of their work and efforts to their advantage. Because they are women they are seen as less threatening to the people involved and affected by the conflict. This allows them better access to people’s homes and a closer look at the affects of war.



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