WW2 Through the Eyes of the Others
by Tatjana Lightbourn
Well known for the historic precedence in the field of photography and communication for images, the Fratelli Alinari Society serves as the oldest company of its kind in the world, dating back 166 years. With such a rich heritage from the mid-1800s to the present day, the archive has collected over 5,000,000 photographs documenting the history of the world, focusing mainly on Italy in specific. In 1998, the online digitalization and cataloguing of Alinari photographs was made accessible and convenient for everyday use. WW2 Through the Eyes of the “Others”, generates the images not often depicted during the conversation of the time. As world dominance became a prominent topic of the time, this exhibit frames a new context of the placement of blacks in the world. With the use of the Alinari archives, a language has been created around the otherness, directly reflecting the early 1900s. As Africans, and African-Americans were directly involved in the aiding of the world during the Second World War, it is important that images portraying such incorporation are shown. The purpose of this exhibit is to showcase the involvement of blacks and various people of African descent in many locations in Europe during WW2. The exposition of WW2 Through the Eyes of the “Others”, is geared towards assimilating a new language for the inclusion of those seen as other, predominantly here in Italy.
The internationally recognized Alinari brand is continuously enriching their publications and enhancing their collection. WW2 Through the Eyes of the “Others”, begins a conversation about the past and shows images through a new lens, hoping to mold and reform an inclusive representation for the future. Depicted in these images are Black American soldiers in Vienna, Ascari soldiers fighting under Italian rule and other images expressing the coexistence of both black and white soldiers. The illusion of displacement in certain groups of individuals can be addressed by the use of this compilation of images. This exhibit is a catalyst to bring awareness of the lack of information included in the history books. It is hoped that more images and research will derive from this very uniquely grouped archive.