Imagine a Venn diagram in which one circle represents the set of all things photographic and the other circle the set of every human conflict, from limited regional insurrections to totalizing global wars, since the eruption of the Mexican- American war in 1846 to the Arab Spring of 2011.
Initially, Roger Lemoyne began his photographic career as a traveler with a degree in film-making who took up photography for the independence it seemed to offer. Returning home he found that he could sell his pictures and this new found market gave him a reason (and means) to travel again. As a freelance photographer he could choose his destinations and his pace. The photography and the traveling supported each other.
Graham, Robert. (2003, September 19). Combat Photography [conference presentation]. Symposium for Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal, Quebec.
What can be said about photography in general is heightened in the case of modern combat photography, which has brought the images of war “home with immediacy.” 2 Immediacy is the collapse of spatial distance and temporal duration into the here and the now. Nowness is a condition of amnesia – unreflective, heedless of the past and indifferent to the future. Hereness is body-bound closeness, intimacy- no further than you can smell. Images of immediacy are proximate and fleeting, pictures hastily formed and consumed, fugitive and in close focus. Variations in speed and scope attend to different ways of experiencing and knowing.
In the language of human (or time) geography, the life path of the war photographer marks a tense existence between inclusion and separation. Understood spatially, the activity of the photographer is located inside or outside demarcated zones which establish for the photographer and the work a position and a role. The photograph, and what we come to know of it, is the product of this activity and signals to us the conditions of its source moment.