American Ways of Seeing

Liam Kennedy

in American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748626014
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670673 | DOI:
American Ways of Seeing

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This chapter focuses on American photojournalism in the contexts of visual responses and representations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq. Noting the links between photojournalism and the visualisation of American foreign policy and geopolitical visions of westward expansion from the mid-19th century onwards, the author, Liam Kennedy, traces the medium from Vietnam War photography through to the Gulf War. With regard to visual representations of September 11, Kennedy concentrates on a series of Magnum images which self-consciously frame the burden (or the impossibility) of representing an event of such enormous magnitude as well as the problems of aestheticising terror and trauma. His discussion of photography and the war in Iraq centres on embedded photographers and the images produced by American soldiers in the field, and the disjuncture between apparently transparent imagery of military life and the systemic, political, editorial and practical frames which regulate these visual productions.

Keywords: Vietnam War; Gulf War; 9/11; Photojournalism; Photography; Terror; Trauma

Chapter.  6691 words. 

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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