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Where are the pictures? Photography & British public perception of the bombing of Germany, 1941-45

Allbeson, Tom 2016. Where are the pictures? Photography & British public perception of the bombing of Germany, 1941-45. PhotoResearcher 25 , pp. 60-87.

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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between the photographically-illustrated press and the government vis-à-vis the bombing of Germany during the Second World War. It will look at publications issued by the Ministry of Information, such as Bomber Command (1941) and Bomber Command Continues (1942), which sought to shape public perceptions of the campaign, as well as the depiction in Picture Post (the most widely circulating photo-magazine of the period) of this aspect of the British war effort following the escalation of the air offensive from 1942 onwards. This research addresses photography as a key facet of the British government’s interaction with the press, taking the MOI photo-books and Picture Post as illustrative case studies in the public presentation of the bombing campaign. Specifically, this article considers the production, management and presentation of photographic depictions of the results of aerial bombardment to propose a disjunction in wartime Britain between public knowledge of Bomber Command’s actions and public understanding of the consequences of this campaign. These case studies illuminate ways in which the contemporary field of public relations so prevalent in liberal democracies of the twenty-first century—mediating between governments and publics via the press—took shape during the Second World War in Britain.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: European Society for the History of Photography
ISSN: 0958-2606
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 April 2018
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 08:42
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/107164

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