See Now in Paris: Women War Photographers at Musée de la Liberation

See Now in Paris: Women War Photographers at Musée de la Liberation
One of the most relevant exhibits to currently see in Paris is Women War Photographers (Femmes Photographes de Guerre) at the Musée de la Liberation de Paris in the 14th arrondissement. It not only highlights eight women photographers who history has sidelined, but it also brings home the impact of today’s headlines, the universal horror of war, and the ways we cope with it. courtesy of Musée de la Liberation de Paris Women are always involved in war either as victims, fighters or support personnel and are witnesses to the horror of events surrounding them. The witness angle of women war photographers is especially strong as they often have access to families who experience the conflicts on many levels. There are numerous female war photographers that have been on the frontlines since photography was invented and this exhibit highlights the special viewpoint (or angle) of these selected eight that is unsparing about the violence and horror of war while capturing the fierce emotional impact on the men, women and children affected. The eight showcased photojournalists are Lee Miller (1907-1977), Gerda Taro (1910-1937), Catherine Leroy (1944-2006), Christine Spengler (b.1945), Françoise Demulder (1947-2008), Susan Meiselas (b.1948), Carolyn Cole (b. 1961) and Anja Niedringhaus (1965-2014). courtesy of Musée de la Libération de Paris Witnessing atrocities is something these women didn’t shy away from. They covered 75 years of conflict from World War II to Nicaragua to Northern Ireland to Afghanistan. Each of the women had a distinctive way to capture what they observed. Some focused on faces up close that show horror and death. Some shot wide battlefield views that showed the extent and despair of destruction. Many focused on the women in war from fighters to young girls fearful as they crossed a street. They captured emotions about war death from blood-soaked bodies on battlefields, to a young son crying next to his dead father’s covered body, to sand-covered corpses that look like young men sleeping. All these images challenge the viewer into thinking about the wars we’ve lived through – close or far away – and bring the headlines of the current wars and terrorist insurgencies alive and in focus. They also highlight the destinies of individuals caught in the camera lens. The eight women are as amazing as their photographs. They won Robert Capa Gold Medals, a World Press Award, and a Pulitzer for their work. They worked for press agencies such as Associated Press and Magnum Agency and for a variety of publications from the Los Angeles Times to Vogue. Two of the eight were killed on the battlefields they were photographing.

Lead photo credit : Women War Photographers exhibit at Musée de la Liberation © Martha Sessums

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Intrigued by France since her first stroll along the Seine, Martha and her husband often travel to Paris to explore the city and beyond. She lives part-time on the Île de la Cité and part-time in the San Francisco Bay Area, delighting in its strong Francophone and French culture community. She was a high-tech public relations executive and currently runs a non-profit continuing education organization. She also works as the San Francisco ambassador for France Today magazine.