Academic journal article Air Power History

Camera Aloft: Edward Steichen in the Great War

Academic journal article Air Power History

Camera Aloft: Edward Steichen in the Great War

Article excerpt

Camera Aloft: Edward Steichen in the Great War. By Von Hardesty. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Photographs. Appendices. Notes. Index. Pp.194. $99.00 ISBN: 0521820553

Edward Steichen's well-known photographs have populated the cultural landscape for decades. His peacetime photographic efforts, whether commercial or artistic, as well as those taken during World War II have all been well documented in books, compendia, and countless articles over the years. Yet, his endeavors during World War I are all but forgotten. This superb book by Von Hardesty goes a long way in rectifying that deficiency.

Prior to the First World War, Steichen, while living and working in France, became an internationally well-known and respected photographer. With the commencement of hostilities in Europe in 1914, he fled France with the German army on his heels, returning to the safety of America.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that, at age 38, he volunteered to serve in the US military when the United States entered the conflict. Initially seeing his role in the war as a modern-day Mathew Brady, his duties quickly changed for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, Steichen's transfer to US Air Service (which was ill prepared for the scale of warfare that it would soon be engaged in) was fated to be a critically important one. …

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