Christoph Bangert, WAR PORN, 2014

Cover back and front

Cover back and front

 

Christoph Bangert confronts us with his graphically haunting images of war in this small format journal-like book. Most images in this book are the unpublished (or then unpublishable) pictures from Bangert’s assignments for the New York Times. These are raw and uncensored images of war and catastrophe in Afganistan, Irak, Indonesia, Libanon or Gaza, taken over a ten year period. German publisher Kehrer were prepared to go the extra mile by publishing this simple, well-produced book. Some pages are still uncut, leaving the decision to cut them open to the individual.
Whether it it is morally right to show war photographs in an art book context is just one of the subjects this book opens to debate. Bangert himself poses the questions: Why are we fascinated with war photographs? Do I produce WAR PORN? This controversial book opens a pandora’s box of questions and issues. Do we even need war photographers? Does the presence of war photographers actively (whether benignly or malignly) influence the behavior of soldiers? Does war photography provide a voice for the weak and victimized, or does it glorify the aggressor and the act of war? Or is it (along with Hollywood and computer game violence) to blame for our increasing shock-resistance, and inability to process and comprehend the true horror of war? Is it worth risking one’s own health and life for?

Well, Christoph Bangert routinely risks his life to show these images to the world, and I certainly respect his courage. I was introduced to Christoph at the 2013 Vienna PhotoBook Festival. Meeting and talking to this unexpectedly calm and gentle man was one of my personal highlights of the festival.

This is one of the most intense photobooks in my collection.

Christoph Bangert’s website: www.christophbangert.com

Kehrer Verlag’s website: www.artbooksheidelberg.de

The book opens with a three page introduction by Christoph Bangert followed by 160 pages of photographs.

Followed by a fourteen page epilogue about the author’s grandfather.

Closes with six pages of index and two pages of acknowledgements and credits.

Designed by Teun van der Heijden, Chiho Bangert and Klaus Kehrer

Published by Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg Berlin & Christoph Bangert in 2014

 

Hard cover

App. 12.0 x 16.0 cm

190 pages

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