Next Article in Journal
Folklore in China: Past, Present, and Challenges
Next Article in Special Issue
Revisioning Australia’s War Art: Four Painters as Citizens of the ‘Global South’
Previous Article in Journal
Gleaning and Dreaming on Car Park Beach
Previous Article in Special Issue
Reconsidering the Image of the Blue Bra: Photography, Conflict, and Cultural Memory in the 2011–2013 Egyptian Uprising
Article

The Politics of Photobooks: From Brecht’s War Primer (1955) to Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2 (2011)

Department of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths, University of London, London SE14 6NW, UK
Humanities 2018, 7(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020034
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pictures and Conflicts since 1945)
This essay intervenes in debates about the depiction of conflict since 1945, by comparing two highly significant photographic ‘hacks’: Brecht’s War Primer (Kriegsfibel) 1955; and Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2, 2011. Kriegsfibel is a collection of images, snipped from wartime newspapers and magazines, which Brecht selected and situated alongside the four-line verses that he used to comment upon and re-caption his pictures. These acerbic ‘photo–epigrams’ captured Brecht’s view, firstly, that photography had become a ‘terrible weapon against truth’ and secondly, that by repositioning the individual image, its political instrumentality might be restored. When, more than half a century later, Broomberg & Chanarin decide to re-work Kriegsfibel to produce War Primer 2, they effectively crash into and redouble the Brechtian hack; updating and further complicating Brecht’s insights; re-animating his original concerns with photography as a form of collective historical elucidation and mounting, literally on top of his pictures of wartime conflict, images from the ‘war on terror’. This essay argues that the re-doubling of War Primer performs multiple critical tasks. It explores the Kriegsfibel as a dynamic confrontation with images of war and stages the enduring need to interrogate and actively re-function images of conflict from WW2 to the present day. It re-examines debates about images as weapons of war in themselves, and finally, it situates the Kriegsfibel assemblage in relation to contemporary understandings of ‘post-truth’. View Full-Text
Keywords: Brecht’s Kriegsfibel; Broomberg & Chanarin; war/anti-war photography; hack/hijack; radical pedagogy; truth-games; anachronism; interventionist thinking Brecht’s Kriegsfibel; Broomberg & Chanarin; war/anti-war photography; hack/hijack; radical pedagogy; truth-games; anachronism; interventionist thinking
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Buckley, B. The Politics of Photobooks: From Brecht’s War Primer (1955) to Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2 (2011). Humanities 2018, 7, 34. https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020034

AMA Style

Buckley B. The Politics of Photobooks: From Brecht’s War Primer (1955) to Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2 (2011). Humanities. 2018; 7(2):34. https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020034

Chicago/Turabian Style

Buckley, Bernadette. 2018. "The Politics of Photobooks: From Brecht’s War Primer (1955) to Broomberg & Chanarin’s War Primer 2 (2011)" Humanities 7, no. 2: 34. https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020034

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop