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Between Ethics and Aesthetics

Photographs of War during the Bush and Obama Administrations

Katrin Dauenhauer

Pages 625 - 646


This essay is concerned with photographs of war during the Bush and Obama administrations and particularly explores how the visual representation of war has developed between the two presidencies. Comparing pictures from Guantánamo and the capture of Saddam Hussein during President George W. Bush’s first term in office to photographs from Guantánamo and the killing of Osama bin Laden during President Obama’s first term in office, I argue that a careful reframing of the ‘war on terror’ has taken place during Obama’s presidency. Focusing on the disappearance of the enemy’s body from sight, I ask what ethical consequences this development entails by setting the question in the context of broader debates about the circulation of pictures of war and suffering.


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