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Korea, 1954, printed c. 27 October-6 December 1962

Dave Heath
American, Canadian, 1931
gelatin silver print
14.7 x 21.5 cm
Purchased 1974
National Gallery of Canada (no. 22836.44)

portrait, single, male, exterior; American soldier
In October 1952 Dave Heath was drafted into the United States military. The following spring he was sent to Korea as a machine gunner with the 3rd Infantry Division. While there, he took photographs of fellow soldiers and the stark Korean landscape. Many of these images were later incorporated into a large opus, A Dialogue with Solitude (1965), which also includes photographs of poverty, disenfranchisement, alienation and what Heath has termed malaise d’age, or the “seeming impingement of impersonal forces upon the destiny of our lives.” Heath regards his Korea photographs as akin to a family album. Most importantly, they are fundamental to his photography. As the artist has stated, “You hear lots of stories of World War II that were defining moments historically and personally for people. In Korea, photography was my defining moment.”

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