We have censored images of war in Australia, and it’s a shame

You may have noticed that we recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of Anzac. One hundred years after Gallipoli, We are now seeing photos of beautiful young men wearing their perfect uniforms, illustrating advertising and marketing opportunities, in the case of Zoo Magazine, a young lady wearing a white bikini with an opal.

What we do not see is the real-life war. It’s never been revealed for us to see in Australia because photographers haven’t been permitted to give an accurate account. The brutal, raw photos from “our boys” have rarely been made public.

Australian journalists have always been banned from showing weakness or insecurity in the military. In the First World War and the Second, authorities banned all photographs taken of the front line until the 1960s. Despite the legend that there was an “uncensored war,” photographers have not been granted the freedom to access Australian soldiers.

Even though thousands of Australians have died due to the war, photos of our fallen soldiers have not been featured in newspapers. The images of the wounded are only published in accordance with respectable icons.

The idea of appropriating war photography is not something new. However, what is interesting is the way in which images are that is used to commemorate the start of the world war, and how it is later utilized to justify current military actions.

The pictorial selectiveness has its origins in 1915. Photographers of the First World War fell into two broad categories: official and amateur. In a sign of their naivety regarding the war and possibly the anticipated speed at which it was fought, Australian soldiers were each presented with an Vest pocket Kodak when they went to Egypt to capture their experiences. The cameras were confiscated after the incident swelled into bloodshed.

Australia has only accredited three war photographers as official war photographers: Herbert Baldwin in 1916 in 1916, one of the British photographer who lasted only six months before he was dismissed due to health issues (a common euphemism for “shell shock”) and Australian photographers, Frank Hurley and Hubert Wilkins.

While the two Hurley and Wilkins created a remarkable collection of work, photographs of Australians fighting in battle were not published in the newspapers of the conflict. The photographs published were limited to photographs of soldiers participating in drills, troops on vacation in Egypt leaving for the country, or arriving at different locations, or pictures of young soldiers who perished, accompanied by captions that included mandatory mentions of heroes, sacrifices of the fallen, and the defense of freedom, and the Empire.

However, it was the photos that were not published that provide a stunning scene of unpublished life in the military. Many captured the ferocity of the conflict as well as the horrifying conditions, the dark and destroyed landscape, and the Australian dead suffering, wounded and fragile emotionally. Some photos show 1300 Indigenous Australians who fought in the conflict.

But the sepia booklet “celebrating 100 years of ANZAC spirit” released by a few Federal Ministers, as well as Woolworth’s infamous ” Fresh in our memories” campaign also featured the same photo depicting a young soldier. Unofficially, Woolworth is referred to by the War Memorial in the War Memorial as”the ” handsome man” but we do not know his name, nor the fate of his name.

It doesn’t matter that he was chosen because he fulfills a crucial reason; the symbolism of traditional and comforting concepts of Anzac bravery and sacrifice.

A single photo of a wounded Australian, which has been included in the memorial media coverage, was shot by Ernest Brookes, a British official photographer.

“An Australian taking wounded comrade in hospital. In spite of the difficult circumstance, they laughed while they walked back from the front. In the distance, can be visible North Beach, running towards Suvla. The Australian War Memorial/Brooks Ernest (Photographer) 1915.

The caption reads: “An Australian bringing in an injured comrade to the hospital. Despite the difficult circumstances, they laughed as they headed back to the front.”

The photo is deemed acceptable due to the fact that the soldier is smiling, however the media, which includes highly regarded newspapers which employ this image, have either ignored or have omitted its questionable origins. Some of them have taken it from Getty images that don’t always caption images. The official Australian war correspondent, Charles Bean, noted that Brookes photo had been “re-enacted”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *