In this conversation prompted by the publication of Julian Stallabrass's Killing for Show: Photography, War and the Media in Vietnam and Iraq (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021), Stallabrass and Mignon Nixon discuss the roles played by photography in two wars that, Stallabrass contends, were simultaneously staged for, and concealed from, the camera. The discussion encompasses diverse modes of war photography, from photojournalism and official military photography to amateur and trophy images, aftermath photographs, and found images used by contemporary artists. It dwells on questions of memory, systemic cruelty, trauma, and melancholy, and on shifts in technology, media, and social relations that have altered the dynamics of killing for show over time, without eliminating the imperative.

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