Picturing the Western Front

Photography, practices and experiences in First World War France

By Dr Beatriz Pichel

Picturing the Western Front
Hardcover +
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526151902
  • Publish Date: May 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526172006
  • Publish Date: Aug 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526151896
  • Publish Date: May 2021
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information


    Between 1914 and 1918, military, press and amateur photographers produced thousands of pictures. Either classified in military archives specially created with this purpose in 1915, collected in personal albums or circulated in illustrated magazines, photographs were supposed to tell the story of the war. Picturing the Western Front argues that photographic practices also shaped combatants and civilians' war experiences. Doing photography (taking pictures, posing for them, exhibiting, cataloguing and looking at them) allowed combatants and civilians to make sense of what they were living through. Photography mattered because it enabled combatants and civilians to record events, establish or reinforce bonds with one another, represent bodies, place people and events in imaginative geographies and making things visible, while making others, such as suicide, invisible. Photographic practices became, thus, frames of experience.


    'Likely to mark a significant turning point in how photographs are used and viewed as historical sources. [...] Dr Pichel has opened up a new dynamic way of thinking about photography in terms of emotion, relationships and the rituals of photographic practices.'
    James Downs, Photographica World Magazine (April 2022)


    1 Recording. The photographic archive of the war
    2 Feeling. Private, Official and Press Photography as Emotional Practices
    3 Embodying. The multiple meanings of the body of the combatant, the mutilated and the dead
    4 Placing. Imaginative geographies, photography and the sense of place
    5 Making visible and invisible


    Beatriz Pichel is Senior Lecturer in Photographic History at De Montfort University

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