War Photographer

Flashcards by hayley-stewart, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by hayley-stewart almost 6 years ago


Flashcards on War Photographer, created by hayley-stewart on 04/15/2015.

Resource summary

Question Answer
"In his darkroom he is finally alone" The poem opens in the initimate, tranquil setting of the photographer's dark room. He is compared to a priest throughout the poem and there is a definite sense of ritual in the way the photographer processes his film.
"With spools of suffering set out in ordered rows" He sets out the film; spools of suffering, in ordered rows perhaps in an attempt to restore order in the chaotic images contained within the pictures.
"The only light is red and softly glows" The red light in the dark room has connotations of light that burns continuously in catholic churches to symbolise the presence of christ and also of blood- a sight the photographer will be all to familiar with.
"Belfast, Beirut, Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass" The final line of the stanza is a list oof places where he has recorded images of conflict. Duffy's deliberate use of full stops here helps to "fix" the images- the final part of the printing process- into the mind of the reader. The stanza ends with the quotation "all flesh is grass" which comes from the New Testament and reinforces the religious imagery as well as emphasising the fragility of life.
"He has a job to do. Solutions slop in trays" The stanza breaks the reverie and calm of the dark room with the line "He has a job to do". The phrase "solutions slop in trays" has a deal meaning, referring both directly to the onomatopoeic sounds of the chemicals he is using to develop but also the hope that in some way these photographs may help to contribute to the resolution to the conflicts they depict.
"Beneath his hands, that did not tremble then though seem to now" The implication that in order to function and do his job properly in the field, the photographer must be able to distance himself from the subjects of his photographs. However, he is able to let his guard down in the privacy of his dark room as he finally allows himself to react to the terrible suffering he was forced to witness and record.
"To fields that don't explode beneath the feet of running children in a nightmare heat." This is one of Duffy's most iconic images of war photography. The poet has deliberately evoked this image in the final line of stanza two; of running children in a nightmare heat. This photograph, of children fleeing an attack in Vietnam directly helped to end this conflict and emphasises just how indifferent we have become today when similar images fail to resonate with us.
"A strangers features faintly start to twist before his eyes" The opening lines, stanza 3, something is happening that injects drama and suspense into the poem and suggests the photographer is not wholly in control of the developing process. Duffy allows us to "see" the horrific photograph develop before our eyes.
"A half-formed ghost" The photographer has captured an image of a man in his dying moments and he is described as a "half-formed ghost". This description is dually effective since it both describes the way the figure is gradually appearing on the paper, while also alluding to the fact that since he no longer exists he has effectively become a ghost.
"He remembers the cries of a mans wife, how he sought approval without words to what someone must." "The photographer recalls how, unable to speak the same language, he sought approval throug the unspoken exchange of looks with the victims wife. Again the analogy to a priest is effective here as they, like this photographer, must tend to people in their final moments. The impact of this memory on the photographer and his sensitivity in seeking permission to capture such an intimate moment on film is clear. He feels his job is a aware of the intrusiveness of his occupation, he conducts himself with the upmost compassion and sensitivity.
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