ANZAC DAY – April 25th, marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions for both Australia and New Zealand.
Images and stories of conflicts that Australian and New Zealand armed forces and documentary photographers have participated in have found their way into books, journals and newspapers.
In this post I have selected 8 publications that contain images by ANZ photographers in wars, campaigns and documentary projects over 100 years. Photographers include Frank Hurley, George Silk, Tim Page, Bruce Connew, Stephen Dupont, Laurence Aberhart and Ashley Gilbertson.
A book featuring the ANZAC memorials in Australia and New Zealand by Laurence Aberhart provides another view of war and the memorials that were built to recognise the sacrifice of those who fought for their countries and lost their lives in service. The final book in the post, made by the Australian photographer Ashley Gilbertson entitled The bedrooms of the fallen, provides an insight into loss and grieving experienced by the families of American service men and women lost in Afghanistan.
Commentary on each book has been limited to inspire individual research into each publication through viewing the books in state and national libraries and photobook collections. Most of the books are contained in the SPOWART+COOPER ANZ PHOTOBOOK RESEARCH LIBRARY in Benalla Victoria.
This list is chronological and is an idiosyncratic selection of books relating to this genre of photobook activity. I am interested to hear about other interesting photobooks by Australian and New Zealand photographers and publishers.
FRANK HURLEY et al. – World War I
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN FRONT: XMAS 1917
FROM THE AUSTRALIAN FRONT: XMAS 1917
A book comprising 128 pages with black and white photographs and/or illustrations with captions. The photographs are reproduced from Australian and British army official negatives taken by their official photographers including: Capt. F. Hurley, Lieut. E. Brooks, Lieut. H. F. Baldwin, and Lieut. F. H Wilkins, A.F.C. The book is also referred to as: ‘From the Australian Front, Xmas 1917’, and contains an introduction written by General W R Birdwood, France, dated 28th September 1917. It also contains sketches by cartoonist Will Dyson who was Australia’s first war artist.
The thin cardboard cover is stapled at the spine. On the front cover is a picture of two soldiers, the Rising Sun badge and the words ‘FROM THE/ AUSTRALIAN/ FRONT/ XMAS. 1917’. On the back cover is the Rising Sun badge incorporating the words ‘AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH MILITARY FORCES’ in a scroll underneath. Net profits from sales of the book were devoted to the Australian Soldiers’ Patriotic Fund. The book was originally issued to soldiers in December 1917 and reprinted for sale to the Australian public in December 1918 at a price of 4s 6d.
From the National Library of Australia’s reference
From the Australian Front XMAS 1917 published Cassell & Company Limited
GEORGE SILK – World War II
Contribution to AUSTRALIA NATIONAL JOURNAL
In 1939, Sydney Ure Smith had recently retired as editor of Art in Australia and the Home, magazines he had co-founded in 1916 and 1920, respectively, and sold to the Fairfax press in 1934. After establishing a new company, Ure Smith Pty Publications, he began a number of projects, including a new magazine, Australia: National Journal.
With this new magazine, Ure Smith aimed to ‘give expression to [Australia’s] progress in Art, Architecture and Industry’. His previous magazines were admired for their developments in the reproduction of graphic art, and architecture had become a prominent feature of Art in Australia …
By the early 1940s, the Second World War influenced the production and content of the magazine in a number of ways. Articles on industrial topics often focused on defence projects and advertisements used military images to promote many products, including paint, light globes and bank accounts … News from the front lines and biographies of prominent military figures featured with many photographs of military life.
Edited from AusLit: https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/C277253
TIM PAGE – Vietnam
Tim Page left England at 17 to travel across Europe, the Middle East and to India and Nepal. He found himself in Laos at the time of the civil war and ended up working as a stringer for United Press International.
From there he moved on to Saigon where he covered the Vietnam War for the next five years working largely on assignment for TIME-LIFE, UPI, PARIS MATCH and ASSOCIATED PRESS. He also found time to cover the Six Day War in the Middle East in 1967. The role of war-photographer suited Page’s craving for danger and excitement.
He became an iconic photographer of the Vietnam War and his pictures were the visual inspiration for many films of the period. The photojournalist in ‘Apocalypse Now’, played by Dennis Hopper was based on Page.
The Vietnam War was the first and last war where there was no censorship, the military actively encouraged press involvement and Page went everywhere, covering everything.
His first book was the acclaimed Tim Page’s Nam followed by nine more volumes including the best selling Page after Page, Derailed in Uncle Ho’s Victory Garden and the opus magnum Requiem.
Page has been the subject of multiple documentaries, theatrical production and has been portrayed in two feature films and a major television mini series.
BRUCE CONNEW – Myanmar/Burma
ON THE WAY TO AN AMBUSH
At first glance, Bruce Connew’s journey was crazy and impulsive. A photographer leaves his children in the care of a friend and hops on a plane to a little reported war he caught a glimpse of on television. In the hill country of east Burma, Connew journeys with refugees, ducks down in trenches to avoid incoming mortar fire and, ultimately, joins forces with a New Zealand mercenary to stage an ambush. This is not your average idea of escapism. What follows is a travellers story – a marvelous tapestry of insight, memoir and visual description. Central to all it’s parts in the photographer’s recent loss of his wife in a road crash. Death and it’s sudden occurance is Connew’s subject. His narrative moves easily between the Auckland suburbs and an all but forgotten war.
On the way to an ambush by Bruce Connew.
Published: Wellington, N.Z. : Victoria University Press, 1999.
Physical Description: 175 p. : ill. (some col.), facsims., ports. ; 21 cm.
ISBN: 0864733763, 9780864733764
MICHAEL COYNE – TIMOR LESTE
TOUR OF DUTY
This book is a black and white film documentary record of the island of Timor-Leste (East Timor) soon after the war of independence in 1998. Coyne’s documentary style features the use of not only the usual 35mm black and white film format but also, in the art photography tradition, images made with the plastic-lensed Holga camera.
STEPHEN DUPONT – AFGHANISTAN
Generation AK: The Afghanistan Wars 1993–2012 is a retrospective selection of images of the country where Dupont has covered everything from civil war and the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s, to the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom and the ongoing war on terrorism. Dupont completed much of this work on self-funded trips and as part of one of the last small independent photographic agencies, Contact Press Images, of which he has been a member since 1997. In 2008 he survived a suicide bombing while traveling with an Afghan opium eradication team near Jalalabad.
LINK TO PUBLISHER: STEIDL
Features large-format reproductions of 72 photographs by leading New Zealand photographer Laurence Aberhart. They provide an almost-comprehensive record of fifty New Zealand ‘Digger’ memorials (those featuring statues rather than abstract sculpture), and a representative range of their Australian counterparts
ASHLEY GILBERTSON – AFGANISTAN / IRAQ
BEROOMS OF THE FALLEN
The book is composed of wide-format, black-and-white photos of forty bedrooms left behind by soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Left intact by the families of the deceased, these bedrooms are filled with milestones of lives cut cruelly short. These forty photos have a number corresponding to the size of a platoon which conveys the anguish of war more eloquently than any battlefield photograph and serve as a lasting memorial to the troops who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From the Publisher’s website
I’m interested to hear about other books of this genre from readers of this post… Doug Spowart
IMAGES of the bookS: Doug Spowart except for GENERATION AK where the book images were loaned courtesy of MomentoPro.
The graphics of the Australian Army Great Brightstar
The post’s graphic with soldiers was sourced from the cover of the Cassell & Company Limited Book, From the Australian Front 1917.