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22 of the most unforgettable war photos you will ever see

The realities of war are discovered in a photography exhibit about the aftermath of armed conflicts.

A CONTROVERSIAL WAR photography at the Brooklyn Museum in New York,  features more than 480 photographs and other documents from wars, dating back to 1887.

After a three-month exhibit with stops in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath will close this weekend but it has left an indelible mark on those that have visited.

“In the news and magazines, people don’t show us what’s really going on,” says Ann Wilkes Tucker, who curated the show with Will Michels. “We felt that if the soldiers have to see it and if the journalists have to see it, we have to see it.”

Although a disturbing experience for most, reactions to the exhibition have been mostly positive. Phillip Kennicott at The Washington Post called it “wrenching and horrifying”, while Vince Aletti at The New Yorker found it “tough and unflinching”.

Some reviewers, however, objected to the overwhelming size and structure of the exhibit, which is jam-packed and arranged thematically, with images of World War II appearing next to images of Afghanistan or Rwanda. The effect, according to Ken Johnson of The New York Times, is “mind-numbing” and “flawed”.

One way or another, it’s a powerful experience. With permission from the Brooklyn Museum (which was extended to, Business Insider published this selection of the photos.

22 of the most unforgettable war photos you will ever see
1 / 22
  • 1916

    Soldiers aboard the Australian transport ship Ajana head out for overseas destinations in 1916.Source: Josiah Barnes/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1941

    Ukrainian battalion commander Alexsei Yeremenko leads soldiers to attack in 1941, after the commander of his regiment was injured.Source: Max Alpert/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1941

    Japanese torpedoes attack Battleship Row during the Pearl Harbor Attack in 1941.Source: Max Alpert/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1941

    Russian soldiers charge forward on the Eastern Front in 1941.Source: Dmitri Baltermants/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1942

    Women work at an airplane assembly plant in 1942. With men off at war, women took up 2.8 million war production jobs.Source: Alfred Palmer/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1942

    A Royal Navy sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag during a voyage to Sierra Leone in 1942.Source: Cecil Beaton/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1942

    In 1942, a Russian female partisan stands covered in ammunition.Source: Arkady Shaikhet/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1943

    USCG Cutter Spencer sinks a Nazi submarine in 1943.Source: Warrant Photographer Jess W. January/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum Read more:
  • 1945

    Five Marines and one Navy corpsman raise Old Glory on Mount Suribachi after taking Iwo Jima in 1945. Source: Joe Rosenthal/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1966

    An evacuation helicopter in Vietnam raises the body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border in 1966. Source: Henri Huet/Courtesy Of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1967

    A Vietnam War protester brings a flower to soldiers in Washington D.C., on Oct. 21, 1967. Nearly 100,000 people came out to protest.Source: Marc Riboud/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1968

    "Little Tiger," a child soldier rumored to have killed his mother and his teacher, stands for a photograph in 1968.Source: Philip Jones Griffiths/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1970

    A US Marine drill instructor delivers a severe reprimand to a recruit at Parris Island in 1970. Seventeen thousand Marine recruits are trained every year at Parris Island.Source: Thomas Hoepker/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1976

    Former hostages from the Entebbe hijacking return to Israel in 1976. Israeli commandos led a daring rescue operation that saved 102 of the 106 hostages.Source: Micha Bar-Am/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 1978

    Muchachos await a counter-attack by the National Guard during the Nicaraguan Revolution in 1978.Source: Susan Meiselas/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • Late 1970s

    Prisoner #389 of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Led by infamous dictator Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge carried out the Cambodian Genocide, during which more than 2 million people were killed.Source: Nhem Ein
  • 1982

    A woman and child visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., 1986. The wall, which features the names of all those killed or missing in action, was completed in 1982.Source: Joel Sternfeld/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 2002

    Young members of Fatah, a major Palestinian political party, at the funeral procession of a Palestinian fighter in 2002.Source: Jan Grarup/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 2004

    Military service is mandatory for all Israelis. Fifteen years after completing her own service, Israeli photographer Rachel Papo documents young female soldiers buying things at a military kiosk counter in 2004.Source: Rachel Papo/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 2007

    Raymond Hubbard, an Iraq War veteran with a prosthetic leg, puts on a Star Wars storm trooper’s helmet and engages his sons in a light-saber battle in 2007. His father was similarly injured in Vietnam.Source: Peter van Agtmael/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 2008

    In 2008, photographer Louie Palu captures U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Orjuela. At 31, he was one of the oldest Marines in the unit at the base in Garmsir District, one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan.Source: Louie Palu/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
  • 2008

    Congolese women flee to Goma from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008. Congo has been mired in a series of civil wars since 1996.Source: Walter Astrada/Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

Read: Violence, addiction, funerals…How Mexico’s drugs war impacts regular people

Published with permission from
Business Insider
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