Thursday, June 18, 2009

Women Photographers during the War (Reflection paper)

Dickey Chapelle and Catherine Leroy are names that I should memorize and tell Mongolian journalists. To be a war correspondent is difficult. To be a photographer might be even more difficult, especially for women. Not every person could be a war correspondent. It depends on person’s personality, I guess. Probably, a rebellious child like Catherine Leroy had a more chance to become a war correspondent because she was ready for any risk. There could be many reasons for a person to become a war correspondent. Being raised in pacifist family, Dickey Chapelle became a war correspondent because she not only fulfilling journalistic duty but also she hated the war. Mainly, the way to see the world defines the course of life for any person. I don’t think they came to photograph the war with intentions to become famous.

War correspondents are always been criticized for not being objective or taking one side. It is clear that access to both or more sides of information is almost impossible because those sides are enemies to each other. If your country is involved in conflict, it will be even more difficult. It is good that the photographers had access to military plane and operations according to the permission of the Military Assistance Vietnam Command.

Work of war correspondents influenced anti-Vietnam war movement among civilians. Dickey Chapelle and Catherine Leroy were both “… the most stubbornly persistent, bullheaded photographers…” We read what psychological trauma she got during the war and how it was difficult to recover. Every person involved in the war must have trauma like that or more. Dickey Chapelle could not tell about her trauma because of her early death.

I am wondering how suitable the phrase “A moth is drawn to a flame”. It might be suitable for American readers to understand them. However, it will give different opinion in my culture. We have the same phrase in Mongolian language but it has different expression. In literature, writers usually used it to describe not serious, light-minded women.


March, 2001

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