My day in Paris continued with an exhibition of the work of exceptional women, the very reason I went to Paris in the first place, to meet the “women, war photographers”, exhibit displayed at the museum of liberation of Paris, near place Denfert-Rochereau. I met well-known figures like Gerda Taro, Lee Miller, Christine Spengler, Françoise Demulder and Catherine Leroy but met also new ones like Susan Meiselas, Carolyn Cole and Anja Niedringhaus. The latter, a German, remains to be remembered as a rising star, until life was robbed from her at the early age of 48, at a checkpoint in Afghanistan. All in all, a trip through the gruesome wars from the 1930’s to today, as seen through the eyes of some remarkable women. Whether in black and white or colour, they show the story to tell. That of the absurd, of pain, fear, loss, blood, tears, chaos, death. A bit of hope maybe as well, when one stares at Vernon Wike, the corpsman in Anguish on Hill 881, or the surgeons operating on the battle field of Normandy in 1944. From the civil war in Spain to the recent events in Afghanistan, women have been there, taking all the risks, reporting, taking pictures, telling those stories and bringing them back for us to wonder, despair, or just gaze in awe. I already reported on Catherine Leroy and wondered why she was not recognised by a book. The catalog of this exhibit is a meager gesture to her legacy, but it is slowly getting there. One regret, the absence of Véronique de Viguerie from this exhibition: she would fit amongst those grandes dames.

Refugees from Málaga in Almería, Spain. February 1937 © Gerda Taro © International Center of Photography | Magnum Photos
Surgeon and anaesthetist, France 1944 © Lee Miller Archives England
Cimetière de Qom, Iran, 1979 © Christine Spengler
Massacre at Quarantaine in Beirut, Lebanon, 1976 © Succession Françoise Demulder/Roger-Viollet
Firing range used by U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion © Susan Meiselas
Vietnam. US Navy officer Vernon Wike with a dying US Marine at the Battle of Hill 881, near Khe Sanh,
April 1967 © Catherine Leroy
Dozens of bodies are laid in a mass grave on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, August 2003
© Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Afghan men on a motorcycle overtake Canadian soldiers with the Royal Canadian Regiment during a patrol in the Panjwaii district, southwest of Kandahar, Salavat, Afghanistan, September 2010
© Anja Niedringhaus / picture alliance / AP Images
%d bloggers like this: