The centennial anniversaries of World War I have prompted a boom in publications about the war, including many recent photographic compendiums that strive to document the war in visually appealing ways. This type of historical illustration, which often borders on sensationalism, threatens to conventionalize historical narratives of the war and obscure important ethical considerations of a current encounter with the war’s violent past through images. This article draws on archival research into the personal photo albums of German soldiers in World War I to argue for an engagement with private memory of the war that can forge important empathic connections to the past as a way of adding needed nuance to the visual representation and present understanding of the war.


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pp. 72-103
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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