Tag Archives: War

The First Photo

First human in a photo

Daguerreotype was the first publicly announced photographic process. It was invented by Louis-Jaques-Mande Daguerre and introduced worldwide in 1839. To make a daguerreotype the daguerreotypist would polish a sheet of silver-plated copper to a mirror finish, treat it with fumes that made its surface light sensitive and expose it in a camera for as long as was necessary. Viewing a daguerreotype is unlike looking at any type of photo. The image does not sit on the surface of the metal, but appears to be floating in space. The first photo of a person was taken using the daguerreotype process. The man in the photo, we should call him Jean-Louis Le Franc, was having his shoes shined. It would be interesting to see howJean Louis would take to Snapchat or Instagram, but we’ve definitely come a long way since then. Modern day photography has become a convenient way to self promote but the ability to physically capture a memory will always be important for us.

Boulevard du Temple – Paris

First Colour Photo

First human photo close up

First colour photo

Thomas Sutton collaborated with the theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell to take three separate exposures of a tartan ribbon through red, green and blue filters. The developed negatives were projected through separate magic lanterns, with the same coloured filters, on to a screen to create a single image. The principle of colour photography was born.

First colour photo was a tartan ribbon

First war photo

One of the very first war photographs was of US forces fighting in the Mexican War in 1847. The image of American troops riding into the city of Saltillo was  captured using daguerreotype technology. The photographer was an unknown American who wanted to take pictures of the likenesses of army officers, Mexican civilians and battlefields. The Mexican war resulted in the US forces being victorious and acquired 500,000 sq miles of land. It is estimated close to 5,000 Mexicans were killed during the land acquisition. The photos are rich in history and the rough and abstract finish makes for striking photography.

First war photograph

Female sniper of WW2

Lyudmila Pavlichenko 

Its 1941 and the 25th infantry division of the Red army, has been ordered to defend a hill near a village just outside of Odessa in the Ukraine.

German and Romanian soldiers are on the approach as a young Ukrainian soldier peers through the scope of a mosin nagant rifle. The sniper finds a target, exhales slowly and fires a shot into a Romanians chest  creating an exit wound the size of an apple.

Mosin Nagant

After cycling the rifle’s bolt action, the sniper places the cross hairs on another Romanian and sends a second round down range striking a second Romanian in the heart.

Both soldiers fall to the ground motionless. Dead.

The shooter is a 24yr old Ukrainian woman Lyudmila Pavlichenko. This was her killing her first two soldiers and it took just a year after this for her to be hailed the most successful female sniper of all time.

 female sniper

She was born in a small Village near Kiev on July 12th 1916. During her teens she worked at Kiev’s Arsonary and participated in Kiev’s mandatory military training programmes. She began to get noticed due to her supreme accuracy and entered various shooting competitions where she was a step ahead of the rest of the competition. She joined a paramilitary organisation where she learned to hand glide and parachute. She volunteered to join the red army at a time were women were not really accepted. She was told to become a nurse instead when she offered to join the rifle regiment, but her marksmanship certificate convinced the recruiter about her capabilities.

The Soviet Union were more relaxed about having women in combat compared to the United States. Women could join the army in a number of roles but were especially suited for sniping due to them being smaller, flexible, cunning, patient and more susceptible to combat stress. Lyudmila was wounded on 3 separate occasions, but continued to fight and racked up over one hundred kills in 10 months in the region. Lyudmila was  promoted to senior sergeant but Odessa was eventually lost to the Germans and she was shipped out to the city of Sevastopol. She fought her for 250 days and promoted to the rank of Junior Lieutenant.

In June 1942 Lyudmila was wounded by mortar fire and moved out of Sevastopol to the mainland. Her final kill count was 309, including over 100 officers and no less than 36 enemy snipers. She was one of the highest scoring female snipers in the history of combat. Sadly, Lyudmila’s division the 25th did not make it out of Sevastopol. The Germans took the city and a majority of the soldiers, including her husband, were killed. The story of Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a propaganda dream and she ended up travelling all around the world so people could hear her story.

As popular as Lyudmila Pavlichenko was, she conflicted with American women. Pavlichenko expressed her concerns in an interview with Time magazine. She was amazed at the kind of questions put to her by the women’s press correspondence in Washington. Lyudmila stated;

“Don’t they know there’s a war, they were asking me silly questions like do I use powder, nail polish and curl my hair. One reporter even criticised the length of my uniform skirt saying that American women wear shorter skirts, and that my uniform made me look fat. This made me angry, I wear my uniform with honour, it has the order of Lenin on it. It has been covered with blood in battle. It is plain to see that with American women, what is important is whether they wear silk underwear under their uniforms. What the uniform stands for they have yet to learn.”

Upon returning to the Soviet Union Lieutenant Pavlichenko was promoted to major. She was also awarded the title, hero of the Soviet Union which is equivalent to the American medal of honour. She instructed snipers at the central women’s sniper training school for the rest of the war. There were 407 instructors which produced 1061 graduates. These students and teachers were responsible for nearly 12000 confirmed kills during the course of the war. She moved back to Moscow and became a Historian for her remaining years before she died in October 1974 at the age of 58. Lyudmila Pavlichenko not only experienced conflict, but she also experienced the ideological conflict that existed between the East and the West.

Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko was more than just a sniper she was an icon of her time, a hero to her countrymen and example of the conflict and cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union.

I Danced and then I Vomit: An Act of Killing

Chilling documentary made by Joshua Oppenheimer which explores the details of the anti-communist cull in Indonesia. Joshua Oppenheimer, determined to dive to the bottom of this uncharted territory, came to Indonesia in 2001, contacted human rights agencies in Jakarta, and started working with the community of survivors.

Continue reading I Danced and then I Vomit: An Act of Killing