from gettysburg to high-tech
The US Military have published a series of stunning photographs taken by their personnel in various theatres throughout the world. The example above shows fighter jets on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower earlier this year, captured by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. Alexander Delgado.
The image is overwhelmingly of its time, exposing the state-of-the-art hardware operated by the world's most advanced military superpower, the action preserved by a combination of 21st century camera equipment and, of course, the artistic vision of MCS Delgado.
It is only natural to be dazzled by the light display (which could almost be any urban scene where traffic is flowing by the aperture at speed). But you only have to turn the clock back a few generations (within the lifetime of my great-grandfather) to the shots that were being taken by pioneering photographers on the battlefield. It was impossible to take action pictures in the 19th century because the technology was still at the stage where subjects had to remain motionless during time exposures. Nevertheless, for all their lack of modern sophistication, photographs of the aftermaths of battles during the American Civil War are utterly poignant, the tranquility of their subjects revealing a terrible tragedy. The slain soldiers may appear calm, almost as if they might wake upon hearing the camera's flash. But these are young men whose lives have been extinguished by their countrymen - in many cases, their own kin.
This photograph depicts one of the 50,000 casualties of the Battle of Gettysburg.