World War I was called the "war of the camera." While many earlier wars fought after photography's invention were documented by the medium, WWI represented a turning point. One of the most important changes was the way in which both the Allied forces and the Central Powers used photography as a tool: to spy, to provoke and to persuade. The official photographs made during the war were telling in terms of strategies, censorship and the constant need to whip up public support for the cause. In sharp contrast to the political and military uses, the importance of photography for personal use was undeniable. Studio portraits of soldiers and their families and sweethearts were widely popular; personal photo albums created permanent records of lives that were suddenly placed at risk. This volume and the exhibition it accompanies, bring together a diverse and remarkable selection of photographs drawn from international collections to illustrate the many important roles that photography played during the war.
Ann Thomas, Curator of Photographs Collection, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Bodo von Dewitz, Former Deputy Director, Senior Curator, Department of Photography, Museum Ludwig, Koln, Germany. Anthony Petiteau, Responsible for Documentary Studies, Musee de l'Armee, Paris.