A Paradoxical Portrait of War
Posted in News
18/04/2022

A Paradoxical Portrait of War

A Paradoxical Portrait of War

Photograph by: Unknown Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The photograph you see here is the library section of the famous Holland House in London, which was a popular social and literary center in the 19th century. But in 1940, during World War II, the building was destroyed by German air raids. For a structure to have suffered such a brutal attack, one can only wonder about the men and how unperturbed they appear amidst the absolute disarray, while browsing through books that are perfectly shelved. Details pertaining to the motive behind the image and the photographer who made it are ambiguous. What we do know is that Fox Photo Limited, a photo agency, commissioned the picture, and that it was shot a month after the bombing. It has been speculated that the photograph may have been staged in order to boost the public’s morale, in order to generate a sense of orderliness at a time of fear and disarray, as well as showcase the British government’s perseverance. This was quite common back then, especially during periods of war, for government agencies and the media to commission the making of such images. Whatever was left of the structure remained in ruins until 1952, when efforts were made to preserve aspects of it.

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