I've come to Tate Modern where I'm going to look at the new exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography. There are images of battlefields, of conflict zones, taken in the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, even years after the act of violence took place.
This is Don McCullin's Shell Shocked US Marine, The Battle of Hue in South Vietnam in 1968.
Don McCullin was right up there in the front line. He had access, that's almost unimaginable a generation before or a generation after. And it is just an overwhelming physical impression of the effect of violence on the human body. This room really gives you a sense of the scale of modern industrial warfare. These are all images from Kuwait after the ousting of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in 1991. It was a short war in the end but one that's left a long and enduring physical legacy.
The footprint of modern war is deeper and much harsher than wars that have gone before. Now we are leaving behind thousands of tons of junk, the detritus of war.
I was really stopped in my tracks by this installation here. These are pictures from the Congo a year after the formal supposed end of hostilities. The legacy of the violence and the physical scars, people that have been tortured and brutalised, millions of people displaced living in camps like this. There's not a single weapon in any of these pictures. It's of people who are traumatised by the unspeakable violence that they've witnessed, that's been perpetrated against them or their families.
These are the unmistakeable concrete structures, the German bunkers, Hitler liked to believe that his empire would be everlasting, and yet these photos were taken 65 years after these structures were built, his empire's gone and they're rotting away back into the sea. This is what happens to all the dreams of all the conquerors and dictators that ever lived; ultimately in the end their empires crumble into dust.
These are four photographs taken on what was the Western Front during World War One, and I'm always struck every time I visit the Western Front that when we humans can hold the memories of these wars and conflicts in the past, the earth itself doesn't really care. The earth recovers, the trees reforest the landscape.