Nothing here really but a quick post about a photograph that really has overwhelmed me. It is a photograph of Italian soldiers killed during World War I. It isn’t a particularly impressive photo, if you’re looking for qualities of composition objectively; but the in a subjective manner, the photo is tragic.
What strikes me most is how plainly the photograph captures life interrupted and ended. Unfortunately we are all too familiar with photos of dead soldiers, but in this picture we see strewn in the mud along side lifeless bodies simple things like a note paper, blankets, and a guitar.
It is the guitar that gets me. In fact, to my eye, it is the most prominent feature in the photograph. You can’t miss it. And that guitar creates a narrative for the picture that I find pitifully sad.
Imagine this group of young men camped in the hills near Cividale, Italy, reading and writing letters, huddled in their blankets, as one of their group played the guitar. There’s a distinct innocence defined by that guitar. It connotes a sort of youthful naiveté that troubles me. This war — the First World War — was embraced with a great deal of naiveté, but the most innocent — the most understandably innocent — suffered the most.
We still make that mistake today, don’t we? It seems to me that a lot of the world’s troubles and conflicts are efforts to sort out the problems and ambitions of old men and women.