Jung Joon Lee (Assistant Professor, History of Art + Visual Culture) recently had her essay on photographs of Korean War orphans was published in, The Eye on War: Constructing the Memory of War in Visual Culture since 1914, edited by Ann Murray (2018).
Lee’s essay investigates the ways in which photographs of orphans taken during and following the Korean War have shaped the collective memory of that experience. The Korean War was a defining moment in the modern history of Korea, wracking the contested land and causing devastating casualties during the very early stages of the Cold War. However, in contrast to World War II photographs such as Joe Rosenthal’s Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, or Robert Capa’s photographs of the Normandy invasion, it is difficult to claim specific photographs of armed forces as iconic enough to conjure up the memory of the Korean War despite the presence of both Korean and foreign war correspondents during the hostilities. The chapter examines the implications of this seeming absence of popularized photographs of military forces while photographs of civilians, especially those of orphans, have been reproduced in exhibitions and publications since.
Image Credit: National Archives and Records Administration