Looking and seeing : photographs of Germans after the second world war

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Ntuli, Caoimhe
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Media and Cultural Studies
Dublin Business School
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This Final Year Project carried out a comparison of the photography of post war Germany by Margaret Bourke-White and Tony Vaccaro. This was done in an attempt to assess the differences in approaches to the subject of post-war Germany and German. Representations of affected populations in this historical period have been described by theorists as sometimes being caught in a reductive narrative which avoids looking at the complexities that existed. This project will contrast the work of Bourke-White, representing a reductive approach to this subject and the work of Tony Vaccaro who represents a more open approach. This project was carried out using a framework of sociological approaches of the Holocaust, theories of photography, analyses of the treatment of World War II, the Holocaust and its aftermath in photography and through research of the photographs and publications of both Bourke-White and Vaccaro. I found that there were significant differences to the photographers’ approaches to the subject of Germany and the Germans in the post war era and that these resulted in markedly different accounts of the same subject. I hope that this Final Year Project’ consideration of these works will go some way to further open up the discussion of the complex realities of all of those affected by World War II and the Holocaust and their aftermath. Author keywords: Photography, war photography, post-war Germany, Germans, World War II, collective guilt