Introduction
in Picturing the Western Front
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The introduction situates the book within three main historiographies: the cultural history of the First World War, photographic history and the history of experience. Building on studies on the materiality of photography, this book focuses on photographic practices. In particular, it examines how doing photography had an influence on shaping experiences that were not intrinsically photographic, for instance, losing a friend in the war. This is an important question because, although photographs are often considered as sources that tell people’s inner lives, there is a lack of explanation about how exactly photography can act as a means of expression. To bridge this gap, this book engages with debates with the history and theory of experience. Borrowing from recent works in the history of emotions, this book proposes an approach to experience based not on language and narratives but on practices. This approach explains how photography can articulate war experiences and situates it within the long tradition of cultural history of war experiences.

Picturing the Western Front

Photography, practices and experiences in First World War France

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