Picturing combat

Combat cameras — when we had trundled down to the banks of the Euphrates to witness a baptism, waded into the river up to our hips, praying we wouldn’t trip or stumble, we weren’t the only camera there.  Click click, click.  The same sound troops hear at their backs on missions and in trainings.  I thought of their service and the risks they take  when we stopped into the museum of the Cranbrook Art Academy.  There, tucked in the display of works by alumni,  a small section highlighted the work of some who had served as combat artists  in World War 2.  The glare was such that I had to stand way to one side so I am not doing justice with these snapshots to the efforts of men who, like our combat cameras today, sought to capture some of the truth about humans in battle.

Hari Kari by Jack Keljo Steele, 1945 - Steele served as combat artist in Australia and the South Pacific. He made this ink drawing on the back of Royal Australian Air Force map.

Hari Kari by Jack Keljo Steele, 1945 – Steele served as combat artist in Australia and the South Pacific. He made this ink drawing on the back of Royal Australian Air Force map.

Australian Soldier by Jack Keljo Steele, circa 1942 -

Australian Soldier by Jack Keljo Steele, circa 1942 –

Sentry by Robert Collins, c. 1945

Sentry by Robert Collins, c. 1945

Soldiers in New Guinea by Jack Keljo Steele, 1945.  Troops beat their way through the thick bush to bring a wounded comrade to safety.
Soldiers in New Guinea by Jack Keljo Steele, 1945. Troops beat their way through the thick bush to bring a wounded comrade to safety.

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