The technological infrastructures, photography was ascendant as a journalistic

 The twentieth century is
characterized by an unarguably unprecedented bloodshed in human history, with
monolithic death toll and utter devastation in the land of Europe.
During the decades following World War II, the social turmoil, economic
disarray and depression were replaced by fundamental technological advancement
and cultural upheaval. To the inexorable ever-growth of the ‘visual-information
society’, photography contributed instrumentally, as emerged as a significant cultural
force even more powerful than before the War, and, thrived.
 War actually operated as a cornerstone
to photographic activity, because of photographers being witnessing indelible
scenes of enmity and devastation during wartime, and thus, invigorated it with new ideas and practices, resulting in expanding
venues for pioneering documentation of
humanity’s trials and tribulations, victories and accomplishments. Hence, the
era of 1940’s and 1950’s represents a watershed in the history of photography
and signaled the apotheosis of photojournalism, with Europe as its primary
arena. By the turn of the 20th century,
building on improvements in camera technologies and offering a
plethora of technical resources and
technological infrastructures, photography
was ascendant as a journalistic aid, illustrating pictures of atrocity and
obliteration of wartime. Specifically, the First World War, the first modern, mechanized conflict, became
the signboard for the use of photographs as visual media and thus, photography
cautiously but concertedly integrated into the war effort, both for military
purposes and to discipline public opinion. Photographic activity was primarily
centered on war material, the landscape of the battlefields, damaged property
and ruins, troop formations, posed and candid images of soldiers and officers
at rest, and the heavy toll of cholera, typhoid and other diseases.
Photographers, altogether, capturing the staggering
human costs of the war, were charged with the task to
solicit public support without unduly registering war’s contradictions, and to
validate the state’s insistent appeal to duty and service while mitigating
war’s ugliness. From the outset, Allied military officials considered a free
press a security risk, and hampered photographic activity as visual confirmation of their
atrocities, by the application of censorship procedures;
photographs of the war were subject to direct military censorship and photographers,
as well as civilian journalists, were banned from the Western Front, the
pivotal conflict area. Nonetheless, both amateur and professional photographers
combined and managed to create a significant body of work, which finally was
not reduced to overdetermined messages, or illustrated propaganda. Therefore, the First World War not only clearly
established the value of photography, as a powerful medium of mass
communication, but laid also the foundations for photography during the Second
World War;
 The Second World War, which effectively began with
Japan’s invasion of China in 1937, followed by Germany’s invasion of Poland in
1939, engulfed the planet by its conclusion in 1945. On all sides, the
conflict saw a massively expanded official use of photography, with
photographers thoroughly harnessed to the prosecution of the war, both as a
part of the armed forces themselves and as civilians
integrated into the military, who earned
reputations as heroes for risking their lives to visualize the events.

 By the outbreak of the war, the picture
magazines proliferated and developed a sophisticated use of the visual page
that proved highly effective as public relations—dynamic layouts, active
narrative associations between pictures of varying types and sizes, potent
picture-text combinations, an enticing interplay of visual sequences, montages
and symbols. Life magazine, to pose
an example, rose to prominence by the 1941 American entry into
the war, and presented an abundance of “documentary” photography, presenting
the contemporary war reality; as photography disseminated
in newspapers and the picture magazines, the viewer, distanced in place and
time from the fighting, was transcended vicariously into the contingencies of
battle, given to feel its excitement but not quite its danger, and offered
valor as the face of justice. Therefore, the
art of war photography became a primary and uniquely
powerful and influential form of media, which modified the nature and shaped the nucleus of the postwar photographic
activity.
The Second World War legitimated the targeting of
civilians and the ruination of cities to an unprecedented degree, and indeed,
victory came to depend on the destruction of civilian life.  In the wake of WWII, the postwar world was
now called to reconceptualize the idea of ‘humanity’, in
order to successfully confront the new overwhelming issues and concerns arisen.
This transitional postwar period carved out a quintessential niche in the new
world order, inaugurating a plethora of developments.
 After 1950’s, the ‘humanist
movement’, hailed as the greatest innovation in postwar years, hit its apex in
the photographic work, and more and more photographers shifted from
photojournalism, the predominant kind of photography, characterized by
empathetic records of events, to a more humanistic approach; Photographers, inspired by contemporary social life, transcribed documentary
photography into personal statements, enabling the viewer to experience the
world as the subjects did, while eliciting  sympathetic responses; ‘Humanistic’
photographers sanitized and shocked, registered the
mundane and bleak realities of war as well as critiqued the imagination of
those realities. They became the evidence of what they showed in relation to
the questions put to them.
  Arthur
Fellig passionately embraced this movement and his stark but memorable
photographs of everyday life, teemed with outsider characters, betoken the
grotesque side of postwar urban life. Similarly, Louis Faurer focused on the outcasts and marginal elements of urban life
and his photographs became both a projection of his own complicated experience
of the city and a dissenting voice in the increasingly conformist culture of
postwar America. Though, the figure of the World War II
photographer as brave humanist was epitomized by the American photographer, W.
Eugene Smith; He assiduously locates moments of tenderness in the midst of
brutality, unleashing the sensory totality of battle under the sign of the
symphonic. Hence, towards the consolidation of the humanistic movement, Magnum Photos Inc was established by
four photographers, among whom the foremost are Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-
Bresson, who were both passionately devoted to the documentation of humanity
trials. The establishment of this photographic agency was orientated to
humanistic reportage and served photographers’ aesthetic and reportage
impulses, while simultaneously, artistic integrity and their own copyright was
maintained. Humanistic reportage, which exclusively addresses humanitarian
concerns, deems war and peace as a single, interdependent subject.

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