‘“Though in a Picture Only”: Portrait Photography and the Commemoration of the First World War’ in G. Braybon, (ed.) Evidence, History and the Great War: Historians and the Impact of 1914-18, (Oxford and New York, Berghahn, 2004)
This book, edited by Gail Braybon, comprises a collaborative revision of First World War historiography from a European perspective. It considers how primary textual, oral and pictorial evidence has been used – or, as the publishers point-out, abused. My contribution suggests that it is more a case of considering what has been omitted. It focuses on the characteristics of, and the relationship between, visual commemorative culture in both public and private space.
My chapter developed ideas about the circulation of various kinds of memory objects produced and distributed in different contexts, ideas that I first addressed in the article ‘The Material Culture of Great War Remembrance’ Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 34, no. 4, (1999) and in the 'War Memorials' entry for the Encyclopedia of Sculpture, A. Bostrom (ed) (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003). In so doing, it incorporated material from different sources, postcards found in Brighton second-hand shops, photographs taken in suburban Paris, long unseen portraits at the bottom of boxes in the Imperial War Museum store at Duxford. Crucially, my research process engaged with the experience of visual culture and an understanding of its context and the spaces it inhabits, past and present.
Institute of Historical Research review
"Moriarty deftly compares portrait photography and war memorials in remembrance of the Great War, and in doing so, points to the individual and collective forms of memory, and the public and private dimensions these constructions evoke. The haunting quality of individual photographs humanise the war; these forms of material culture provide an embodiment to the stark lists of soldiers' names on memorials."
Gender and History. www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/476