Outbreak of the war
End of the war

The visualisation of war: photography in the First World War

In the first industrialised war, technological developments changed both the events on the battlefield and visual perception. In photographic terms, the First World War marks a turning point. Photography promised to show the true nature of the events of the war, this new leading medium implying an authentic representation of events. The impression of objectivity, however, meant that photography possessed considerable potential for manipulation that was used for propaganda purposes. At the same time, technical achievements led to the democratisation of photography. The concept developed of the soldier-photographer, camera in hand, whose photos were in contrast to the official war reporting. Amateur photographers, trench photographers and snapshooters documented 'their war' for those at home, and presented a variety of personal pictures to contrast with the official representation of the war.

Translation: David Wright