Press Release

Conflict, Time, Photography

Press release introducing Tate Modern's exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography
Shomei Tomatsu Steel Helmet with Skull Bone Fused by Atomic Bomb, Nagasaki 1963

Shomei Tomatsu
Steel Helmet with Skull Bone Fused by Atomic Bomb, Nagasaki 1963
© Shomei Tomatsu – interface. Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Conflict, Time, Photography
26 November 2014 – 15 March 2015
Open daily from 10.00–18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
For public information call +44 (0)20 7887 8888, visit, follow @tate 

Conflict, Time, Photography brings together photographers who have looked back at moments of conflict, from the seconds after a bomb is detonated to 100 years after a war has ended. Staged to coincide with the centenary of the First World War, this major group exhibition offers an alternative to familiar notions of war reportage and photojournalism, instead focusing on the passing of time and the unique ways that artists have used the camera to reflect on past events. 

Conflicts from around the world and across the modern era are depicted, revealing the impact of war days, weeks, months and years after the fact. The works are ordered according to how long after the event they were created: images taken weeks after the end of the American Civil War are hung alongside those taken weeks after the atomic bombs fell on Japan in 1945. Photographs from Nicaragua taken 25 years after the revolution are grouped with those taken in Vietnam 25 years after the fall of Saigon. The exhibition concludes with new and recent projects by British, German, Polish and Syrian photographers which reflect on the First World War a century after it began.

The broad range of work reflects the many different ways in which conflict impacts on people’s lives. The immediate trauma of war can be seen in the eyes of Don McCullin’s Shell-shocked US Marine 1968, while the destruction of buildings and landscapes is documented by Pierre Antony-Thouret’s Reims After the War (published in 1927) and Simon Norfolk’s Afghanistan: Chronotopia 2001-2002. Other photographers explore the human cost of conflict, from Stephen Shore’s account of displaced Jewish survivors of the Second World War in the Ukraine, to Taryn Simon’s meticulously researched portraits of those descended from victims of the Srebrenica massacre.

Different conflicts also reappear from multiple points in time throughout the exhibition, whether as rarely-seen historical images or recent photographic installations. The Second World War for example is addressed in Jerzy Lewczyński’s 1960 photographs of the Wolf’s Lair / Adolf Hitler’s War Headquarters, Shomei Tomatsu’s images of objects found in Nagasaki, Kikuji Kawada’s epic project The Map made in Hiroshima in the 1960s, Michael Schmidt’s Berlin streetscapes from 1980, and Nick Waplington’s 1993 close-ups of cell walls from a Prisoner of War camp in Wales. 

As part of Conflict, Time, Photography, a special room within the exhibition has been guest-curated by the Archive of Modern Conflict. Drawing on their unique and fascinating private collection, the Archive presents a range of photographs, documents and other material to provide an alternative view of war and memory.

Conflict, Time, Photography is curated at Tate Modern by Simon Baker, Curator of Photography and International Art, with Shoair Mavlian, Assistant Curator, and Professor David Mellor, University of Sussex. It is organised by Tate Modern in association with the Museum Folkwang, Essen and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, where it will tour in spring and summer 2015 respectively. The exhibition is also accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue from Tate Publishing and a programme of talks, events and film screenings at Tate Modern.

Artists included in the exhibition are:

Jules Andrieu, Pierre Antony-Thouret, Nobuyoshi Araki, George Barnard, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Luc Delahaye, Ken Domon, Roger Fenton, Ernst Friedrich, Jim Goldberg, Toshio Fukada, Kenji Ishiguro, Kikuji Kawada, An-My Lê, Jerzy Lewczyński, Emeric Lhuisset, Agata Madejska, Diana Matar, Eiichi Matsumoto, Chloe Dewe Mathews, Don McCullin, Susan Meiselas, Kenzo Nakajima, Simon Norfolk, João Penalva, Richard Peter, Walid Raad, Jo Ratcliffe, Sophie Ristelhueber, Julian Rosefeldt, Hrair Sarkissian, Michael Schmidt, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg, Indre Šerpytyte, Stephen Shore, Harry Shunk and János Kender, Taryn Simon, Shomei Tomatsu, Hiromi Tsuchida, Marc Vaux, Paul Virilio, Nick Waplington, Jane and Louise Wilson, and Sasaki Yuichiro.

Film Programme 

A special season of film screenings will be held in the Starr auditorium at Tate Modern to accompany Conflict, Time, Photography. The season brings together key works that question how memory and conflict are explored in cinema. 

John Gianvito: Vapor Trail (Clark) 2010
Sunday 1 February 2015, 14.00, £5 (£4 concession)
This film essay explores the toxic legacy of the Philippine–American War 108 years after it ended, offering a devastating commentary on colonialism and military practices.

Serge Bozon: La France 2007
Friday 6 February 2015, 19.00, £5 (£4 concession)
Reflecting on the cinema’s response to conflict, La France is a unique hybrid of war movies and musicals, following a band of battle-scared deserters during the First World War. 

Nobuhiro Suwa: H Story 2001
Friday 13 February 2015, 19.00, £5 (£4 concession)
H-Story is a film about the struggle to reclaim the past, explored through an attempt to remake Alain Resnais's classic Hiroshima Mon Amour 1959 in present day Japan.

Events Programme

Susan Meiselas in conversation with Simon Baker
Thursday 27 November 2014, 18.30-20.00, £12 (concessions available)
Photographer Susan Meiselas discusses her illustrious career in photojournalism around the world. 

Curator’s tour and private view
Wednesday 3 December 2014, 18:30-20:30, £20 (concessions available)
Tate’s curator of photography Simon Baker leads an hour-long tour of the exhibition.

War Primer 2 by Broomberg & Chanarin
Monday 26 January 2015, 18:30-20:30, £20 (concessions available)
Broomberg & Chanarin, 2013 winners of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, choreograph a performance responding to the exhibition and using Brecht’s unfinished opera War Primer. 

Photographing History: Conflict, Time, Photography artists in conversation
Monday 16 February 2015, £12 (concessions available)
Hrair Sarkissian, Chloe Dewe Mathews and Diana Matar join curators Simon Baker and Shoair Mavlian to discuss their relationship to conflict, modes of representation and historical narratives.