Visualising War

Visualising Peace with Frank Möller

September 01, 2021 The University of St Andrews Season 1 Episode 25
Visualising War
Visualising Peace with Frank Möller
Show Notes

In this episode, Alice and Nicolas interview Dr Frank Möller, a researcher at the Tampere Peace Research Institute, Finland. Frank studies peace photography - both how photography can represent peace, and how such representations can contribute to peace. He has published several books on this topic, including Visual Peace: Images, Spectatorship and the Politics of Violence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Peace Photography  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). He also leads a project on 'peace videography' and is co-founder of https://www.imageandpeace.com, a hub for researchers, artists and anyone interested in the link between visual culture and peace. 

In the podcast, we ask Frank what distinguishes 'peace photography' from other kinds of photography. That gets us talking about the long tradition of war photography, 'anti-war' photography, and the tendency to define and represent peace in relation to war - for example, by visualising peace through images of aftermath or post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction. Frank argues for a broader approach to peace photography, and discusses the power of images of 'everyday peace' even in the midst of a war. He argues that if we can capture images of everyday peaceful practices, their momentum might grow and they might go on to generate more peaceful practices in turn. We also talk about the role that images of peace can play in mediation processes, through 'active looking'. As Frank puts it in one of his books, 'images reflect the world; in order to change the world, we need to change the images we see.' 

Among other questions, we asked Frank:

  • is it easier to represent war than peace - or, at least, to represent cliches of war and peace?
  • why is there no easily recognised tradition of 'peace photography' as there is for war photography?
  • what role does photography play alongside other media (texts, films, works of art, etc) in shaping our habits of visualising war and peace?
  • how can efforts to represent or visualise 'pockets' or 'islands' of everyday peace engender more peaceful practices in the wider world? How can we build peace with images?

We hope you enjoy the episode! For a version of our podcast with close captions, please use this link.

To find out more about Frank's work, you can visit his project website where he invites anyone interested in building peace with images to get involved.  For more information about individuals and their projects, access to resources and more, please have a look on the University of St Andrews Visualising War website.  

Music composed by Jonathan Young
 Sound mixing by Zofia Guertin