In Review

Conflict, Time, Photography - reviews of 'haunting' Tate show

'Innovative' photo show traces the brutal impact and lasting cost of war over 150 years

What you need to know

A new photography exhibition, Conflict, Time, Photography, has opened today at Tate Modern, London. The exhibition traces 150 years of war photography, from the American civil war and WW1 to Iraq and Afghanistan.

This exhibition organises its images according to the amount of time that has elapsed between the conflict and when the picture was taken, so there are photographs taken moments, weeks, months or even decades after conflicts. It includes images from the Archive of Modern Conflict, photojournalism by Don McCullin, Bill Brandt and Lee Miller, as well as conceptual photo art by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. Runs until 15 March.

What the critics like

This moving exhibition is not about photojournalism, but "about remembrance" – about how artists and societies come to terms with the atrocities and traumas of the past, says Alastair Sooke in the Daily Telegraph. These poetic images elicit an eerie sensation that does not resort to mawkishness, but delivers a subtler and more haunting evocation of the past.

This innovative show "drags your imagination into uncomfortable territories" where almost everything is haunted by war's relentless human cost, says Ben Luke in the Evening Standard. It's a sonorous and deeply affecting exhibition that makes a powerful statement about photography and memory.

The images from the Archive of Modern Conflict mix the eccentric with the perplexing and are "alive with reminders of how timeless the patterns of war are", says Tom Coghlan in The Times. They are deliberately contrary and questioning of war photography's tradition of the heroic, bestial and bloody.

What they don't like

"There is little relief from the stark depictions of this exhibition", which focuses on the long-term effects – the scars – of conflict, says Karen Wright in The Independent. But it's an exhibition to linger in, chew upon, contemplate. "I left feeling I know more about my fellow men and women, and perhaps myself, through my responses".

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