Exhibitions

The Great War: The Persuasive Power of Photography

27 Jun 2014 - 16 Nov 2014

Prints, Drawings and Photographs Galleries

World War 1 was called the “war of the camera”. While many earlier wars fought after photography’s invention were documented by the medium, WW1 represented a turning point in several regards, not the least of which was the way in which both the Allied forces and the Central Powers chose to use photography as a tool with which to develop strategy, to spy, to provoke, and to persuade. The official photographs that were made in the course of this 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 militaristic use of the medium was the undeniable importance of its personal use. This is seen in the widespread popularity of the studio portraits made of soldiers and their family members and the composing of personal albums prior to, during and after the war to create permanent personal records of lives that were suddenly placed at risk. The exhibition brings together a diverse and remarkable selection of photographs drawn from national and international collections in an attempt to illustrate the many important roles that photography played during the war. 

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada with the generous collaboration of the Archive of Modern Conflict, London; Archive of Modern Conflict, Toronto; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia; Canadian War Museum, Ottawa; Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa; Neil David MacDonald; Musée de l’Armée, Paris; Ryerson Image Centre, Ryerson University, Toronto; The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library; Wilson Centre for Photography, London

Unidentified (Canadian War Records Office)<br />
<em>Stretcher Bearer and German prisoner dressing wounded Canadian at capture of Arleux, France, April</em><br />
1917<br />
Modern print from a glass plate negative<br />
Ink jet print, 122 x 122 cm<br />
Library and Archives Canada, e011068416

Unidentified (Canadian War Records Office)
Stretcher Bearer and German prisoner dressing wounded Canadian at capture of Arleux, France, April
1917
Modern print from a glass plate negative
Ink jet print, 122 x 122 cm
Library and Archives Canada, e011068416