It’s been a powerful week for visual history which got me thinking about the impact of images on the way we remember events, particularly tragedy. The old adage that pictures speak louder than words is never more true than images that capture loss and horror. They remind us of some of the worst events in our recent history and symbolise the darkest aspects of our humanity: politics, greed and power. It’s impossible to forget them.
This picture has been everywhere this week as we remember the 23rd anniversary of Tiananmen Square, and it’s certainly one of the most powerful images we can think of in the history of photojournalism. “Tank Man” is the name given to this photograph that was taken on 4 June 1989 by Jeff Widener, then Southeast Asia Picture Editor with Associated Press in Bangkok.
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In the town of Caen, in Normandy, is one of the most remarkable museums I’ve ever visited.
I went there in 1994, the week of the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, and what I remember most clearly about the Memorial de Caen – the Caen Peace Museum – is the long spiral ramp down which you must walk to enter it.
You can read about it here: or if your French is up to it, take a virtual tour here: but nothing will really reproduce the experience of walking in person down the spiral of history that led to world war and genocide.
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