Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Nina Berman, American, born 1960. Marine Wedding, 2006. From the series Marine Wedding. Inkjet print, ed. #1/3. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of an anonymous donor.


David Turnley, American, born 1955. Iraq February 1991. Inkjet print, printed 2012.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: David Turnley / Corbis

W. Eugene Smith, American, 1918-1978. Burial at Sea 1944. Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1955. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Knox Nunnally at "One Great Night in November, 2008" in honor of the Greatest Generation veterans who served in the United States Navy.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: W. Eugene Smith / Black Star

Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut, American, born Vietnam, 1951. Children fleeing South Vietnamese napalm strike near Trang Bang, Vietnam June 8, 1972. Gelatin silver print. International Center of Photography, The LIFE Magazine Collection, 2005.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Nick Ut / Associated Press

Eddie Adams, American, 1933-2004. Police Commander Nguyen Ngoc Loan killing Viet Cong operative Nguyen Van Lem February 1, 1968. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eddie Adams / Associated Press

Joe Rosenthal, American, 1911-2006. Old Glory goes up on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima February 23, 1945. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of the Kevin and Lesley Lilly Family, The Manfred Heiting Collection.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Rosenthal / Associated Press

Charles Fenno Jacobs, American, 1904 - 1975. The crewmen of the battleship USS New Jersey watch a Japanese prisoner of war bathe himself before he is issued GI clothing 1944. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Charles Fenno Jacobs

Henri Huet, French, 1927-1971. The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter, Vietnam 1966. Gelatin silver print, printed 2004. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Henri Huet / Associated Press

Philip Jones Griffiths, Welsh, 1936-2008. This woman was tagged, probably by a sympathytic corpsman, with the designation VNC (Vietnamese civilian), Vietnam 1967. Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1968. The Philip Jones Griffiths Foundation, courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Philip Jones Griffiths / Magnum Photos

Vo An Khanh, Vietnamese, born 1939. Danh Son Huol, an ethic Khmer guerrilla, being treated by a medical unit in a swamp, U Minh Forrest, Cau Mau Peninsula, Vietnam September 5, 1970. Inkjet print, printed 2012. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of CAPT Jon R Cummings USN (RET).


Dmitri Baltermants, Russian, born Poland, 1912 - 1990. Attack-Eastern Front WWII 1941. Gelatin silver print, printed 1960. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Michael Poulos in honor of Mary Kay Poulos at "One Great Night in November, 1997." Dmitri Baltermants, © Russian Photo Association, Razumberg Emil Anasovich.

Unknown photographer. Japanese soldiers bayoneting captured Chinese soldiers in trench; Japanese soldiers watch from rim of trench 1937. Gelatin silver print. Collection of Alan Lloyd Paris.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Unknown photographer

Francois Aubert, French, 1829–1906. The Shirt of the Emperor, Worn during His Execution, Mexico 1867. Albumen print from glass negative. Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005. Francois Aubert, © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

W. Eugene Smith, American, 1918-1978. Marine Demolition Team Blasting Out a Cave on Hill 382, Iwo Jima, from the photo-essay Iwo Jima 1945. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase with funds provided by the S. I. Morris Photography Endowment, The Manfred Heiting Collection.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: W.Eugene Smith / Black Star

Dmitri Baltermants, Russian, born Poland, 1912 - 1990. Grief, Kerch, Crimea 1942. Gelatin silver print. Teresa and Paul Harbaugh Collection, Denver, CO, Courtesy of Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York, NY. Dmitri Baltermants, © Russian Photo Association, Razumberg Emil Anasovich.

Malcolm W. Browne, American, born 1931. Published by Wide World Photos. Bhuddist monk Thich Quang Duc sets himself ablaze in protest against alleged religious persecution by the South Vietnamese government, Saigon June 11, 1963. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of an anonymous donor in memory of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Malcolm W. Browne / Associated Press

John Filo, American, born 1948. The Grieving Student at Kent State University, Ohio May 4, 1970. Gelatin silver print. International Center of photography, The LIFE Magazine Collection, 2005.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John Filo / Getty Images

Marc Riboud, French, born 1923. Washington October 21, 1967. Gelatin silver print, printed later. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Joan Morgenstern.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Marc Riboud / Magnum Photos

Sal Veder, American, born 1926. Burst of Joy, Travis Air Force Base, California March 17, 1973. Gelatin silver print. Tonnemacher Family Collection.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Sal Veder / Associated Press

W. Eugene Smith, American, 1918-1978. Dying Infant Found by American Soldiers in Saipan June 1944. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Will Michels in honor of Anne Wilkes Tucker.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: W. Eugene Smith / Black Star

Cecil Beaton, English, 1904-1980. Three-year old Eileen Dunne in Hospital for Sick Children, England 1940. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the Cecil Beaton Archive at Sotheby's.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cecil Beaton / The Imperial War Museum

Eugene Richards, American, born 1944. Nelida Bagley helps to lift her son, former Sgt. Jose Pequeno of the New Hampshire National Guard, from his bed at the West Roxbury VA Medical Center on March 21, 2008 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Thirty-four-year-old Pequeno, the chief of police of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, lost forty percent of his brain after a grenade exploded in his Humvee while on patrol in Ramadi, Iraq on March 1, 2006. From the series War Is Personal. Gelatin silver print, printed 2011, ed. #5/30. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of James Edward Maloney and Carey Chambers Maloney II.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Eugene Richards

Jan Grarup, Danish, born 1968. Young Fatah Members at the Funeral Procession of a Palestinian Fighter, from the series The Scars of David 2002. Inkjet print, ed. # 4/10. Courtesy of the artist.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: © Jan Grarup / Laif

Donna DeCesare, American, born 1955. In the 1980s El Salvador had one of our hemisphere's worst human rights records. The victim was murdered for violating curfew during the guerilla offensive in November. San Salvador, El Salvardor 1989. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist.


Fazal Sheikh, American, born 1965. Narame Fausta with her daughter Esther and her newborn Makantamba ("One who was born at the time of the war"), Rwandan refugee camp, Lumasi, Tanzania 1994-95. Gelatin silver print with toning. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of the artist, Pace MacGill Gallery, and an anonymous donor in memory of Marsha Towers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Fazal Sheikh / Pace MacGill Gallery

Luis Sinco, American, born 1959. The Face of War: Marine Lance Cpl. Blake Miller in Fallouja 2004.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Chris Hondros, American, 1970-2011. U.S. Troops Mistakenly Kill Iraqi Civilians, Tal Afar, Iraq January 18, 2005. Inkjet print, printed 2012.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Ron Haviv, American, born 1965. A soldier of the Tigers, a Serbian paramilitary group, kicks the dying bodies of the first Muslims to be killed in the war in Bosnia, from the series Blood and Honey: A Balkan War Journal, Bejeljina, Bosnia, March 31, 1992. Inkjet print. Courtesy of Ron Haviv / VII.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ron Haviv / VII Agency

Carolyn Cole, American. Camouflage paint colors a Marine's face during an operation in downtown Najaf 2004.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Ashley Gilbertson, Australian. The bedroom of Pfc. Karina S. Lau in Livingston, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ashley Gilbertson / VII Network

Todd Heisler, American, born 1972. Vigil, Nevada 2005. From the series Final Salute. Chromogenic print.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Todd Heisler / Rocky Mountain News

Luc Delahaye, French, born 1962. Taliban 2001. Chromogenic print. Purchase with funds from the H.B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, High Museum of Art.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luc Delahaye / Galerie Nathali Obadia

Robert Capa, American, born Hungary, 1913-1954. Death of a Loyalist Militiaman, C—rdoba front, Spain Late August - early September 1936. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Modern Art, Gift of Edward Steichen. Robert Capa, © International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Robert Capa / International Center of Photography

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reFramed: In conversation with WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY curator Anne Wilkes Tucker

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reFramed: In conversation with WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY curator Anne Wilkes Tucker

“reFramed” is a feature showcasing fine art photography and vision-forward photojournalism. It is curated by Los Angeles Times staff photographer Barbara Davidson. twitter@photospice

Anne Wilkes Tucker is currently the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston where she has worked since 1976.  She founded the Photography Department at the museum that now has a collection of over 28,000 photographs. She has curated over forty exhibitions, the most recent being WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath. Other exhibitions include retrospectives for Robert Frank, Ray K. Metzker, Brassaï, George Krause, Louis Faurer and Richard Misrach. She organized surveys on the Allan Chasanoff collection and contemporary Latin American photography as well as exhibitions on the Czech Avant-garde 1919-1945 and the History of Japanese Photography, working with a team of curators on both. She also curated the first museum shows for artists such as Joel Sternfeld and Catherine Wagner and the first exhibition in the United States by the Chinese photographer Chen Changfen.


Photograph by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Most of these exhibitions were accompanied by a publication, some of which have been reprinted decades later. She has contributed essays to monographs and catalogues of photographs by Irving Penn, Mark Cohen, Toshio Shibata, Jungjin Lee, Alec Soth, Arthur Leipzig, David Carol, David Maisel, Dave Anderson, Jeff Liao, Jay DeFeo, and Misty Keasler.  She has published many articles and lectured throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.


Tucker has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, The Getty Center, the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, and the Brown Foundation Fellows at the Dora Maar House, and received an Alumnae Achievement award from Randolph Macon Woman’s College. In 2001, in an issue devoted to “America’s Best,” TIME magazine honored her as “America’s Best Curator.” She was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Focus Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2006. She received an honorary doctorate degree from the College of Brockport, the State University of new York in 2011.
Tucker was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she attended public schools.  She received undergraduate degrees from Randolph Macon Woman’s College  (now Randolph College) and Rochester Institute of Technology and a graduate degree from the Visual Studies Workshop, a division of the State University of New York.  While in graduate school, she worked at the George Eastman House in Rochester and at the Gernsheim collection in the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin.  In 1970-71, she was a curatorial intern in the photography department of Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Q: How, and when, did the idea of the WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY exhibit come about?
A: In 2002, the museum acquired the print of Joe Rosenthal’s flag rising on Iwo Jima that is reliably thought to be the first print made from the negative. Rosenthal took it on a Friday, the negatives were sent to the big lab on Guam to be processed and then passed by censors and the man who developed the negative made a print for himself.

Will Michels, a photographer who works for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, came to me to talk about that print. For 10 years before coming to MFAH, Will was the restoration architect on the USS Texas battleship and in talking to World War II vets on the USS Texas during Iwo Jima, they talked about seeing the flag raised.

That discussion led to a small show of conflict photographs that the museum already owned, to more discussions about what we should acquire, and eventually to the decision to do an exhibition on the history of war photography.


Q: Finding the images for the show must have been a massive undertaking. Can you tell me about your research and how you selected the images featured in the exhibit?
A: From Wallis Annenberg and the Trellis Foundation we got grants that allowed us to travel to military archives such as Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Marine archive at Quantico as well as to Library of Congress and many museums. We also went to several World Press Photo Awards Days and to Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France. This allowed us to see pictures, meet photographers, editors, agency directors, etc.

At night, after looking at hundreds to thousands of pictures in a day, we would ask each other what we remembered and make a list of those photographs that stayed in our mind. We got reproductions of those images and, once home, we studied them. Eventually, we began to see patterns of recurring subjects: battlefield death, woman grieving at a grave, starving populations, combatants waiting for conflict to start. We began to establish categories. When we brought in military historians they said that our categories paralleled divisions that they thought about when studying war. They helped us refine the categories. Only at a very late stage did we realize we could organize the categories in the order of war so that people would see through photographers’ images of the process of advent, embarkation, training, fight, etc., to war’s end. The pictures led us — instead of us going in with preconceived ideas for which we looked for pictures that supported what we thought we knew. We were learning so much.


Q: Tell me about the slash between WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY.
A: In talking to the military historians about how and why conflicts are conducted we began to feel that there is this entity called war and this entity called photography and that the project was about how, when and why the two interacted. We felt that to understand war photography we had to understand war. So it became a show about war and about photography, not just war photography. Thus the slash.


Q: How are veterans responding to the exhibit? Do you think the work is helping them speak about their experiences in war and in turn help with their healing process?
A: Will used the word “respect” when asked what we wanted to achieve. We want people to respect the photographers who have risked (and too often haven given) their lives to get the pictures and respect for the men and women who are combatants. About 10% of the people who attended the show in Houston were veterans and the remarks they gave us personally or wrote in comment books or on 3×5 inch cards posted on a wall were appreciative and approving of the show. The local veteran centers brought vets to the show and in at least one instance, took a group back to the vet center for a counseling group. The vet centers specifically asked us to arrange, which we did, for an evening to which veterans could come to the show and bring their families. They also asked for copies of the books for the vet center.


Q: The original exhibition premiered at the Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston. It is now at the Annenberg Space for Photography. How did you edit the show down to 180 images from the original much larger exhibition?
A: Our primary request of each of the venues on the show is that they:
a) Include images from each of the 24 sections in the overall collection. So Annenberg has a selection of images from each section.
b) Include images from each of the military services and have photographs by military and commercial photographers
c) In other words, it is smaller, but it does represent our ideas.  Also, all the original images in Houston are in the catalog so they are available.

Q: How did you manage to get funding for such an epic 480-object show and its 600-page catalog?

The initial funders were all individuals, some of whom led foundations. They included Edith and Phillip Leonian of a foundation of the same name (the major funders), Wallis Annenberg, Betsy Karel of the Trellis Funds, and James Maloney.  Other smaller grants came from eight individuals, foundations and corporations who are listed on the back of the title page in the catalog. Chase Bank in Houston made it possible for all veterans and active service personnel to get into the show free.

Many of the ideas expressed above are discussed at more length in the introduction to the catalog.

………………..W. Eugene Smith

Q: What are some of your favorite images and why?
A: This is hard. There are classics such as Ut’s photograph of Kim Phuc, Burrow’s Reaching Out, and O’Sullivan’s Harvest of Death that are so impressed on my brain. My response is no longer fresh but they are still pivotal relative to this topic.

The photograph taken by a Japanese airman of the torpedoes going into the battleships at Pearl Harbor still gets to me because 2,300 people are about to die, but they are still sleeping, writing home, getting dressed for breakfast or church. The picture was taken after Hickam Field was bombed and before the Arizona exploded.

Todd Heisler’s series also continues to get to me as do Ashley Gilbertson’s Bedrooms of the Fallen because they convey so powerfully the utter devastation of this loss to the combatant’s family.

So many of the photographs of civilians disturb me: Paul Lowe’s of the walking skeleton, Alexandra Avakian’s of the woman raped with her son watching and Jonathan Torgovnik’s of the Tutsi woman and her two daughters, one by her husband and the other from rape by a Hutu soldier.

Of the soldiers: Carolyn Cole’s of the man waiting to go into battle in Iraq. One can’t help but wonder if they survived. Also in the prisoners of war section is Sean Flynn’s photo of the man being interrogated while hanging upside down, but the interrogators are taking a cigarette break, leaving the captured man to look into the camera lens.  (Sean was Errol Flynn’s son and died in Cambodia.)

Then there is the picture of Dickey Chappell receiving last rites.  I read a book about her while still in college and was so impressed by her courage and her determination to be a conflict photographer at a time where there were only a handful of women at the front. She was the only woman photographer among 90 photographers on Iwo Jima during World War II, and then she was in Korea and died in Nam.

Ron Haviv’s conveys with such shocking clarity the disrespect of those killed.

Goes on. Hard to stop.



1 Comment

  1. May 28, 2013, 11:11 pm

    Saw the exhibit yesterday and was left speechless. What I saw and heard from the contributing photographers all spoke on it's own merit.
    What a incredible journey these photojournalists have gone and continue on going.
    I shake the hands of these people who are risking their own lives to document conflict world-wide.

    By: acandelaphoto

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