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Anti-Aircraft Gunner

Accession Number
2015/2.103

Title
Anti-Aircraft Gunner

Artist(s)
Dmitri Baltermants

Artist Nationality
Russian (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1941-1945, printed 2003

Medium & Support
gelatin silver print on paper

Dimensions
16 in x 20 in (40.64 cm x 50.8 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Thomas Wilson '79 and Jill Garling '80

Subject matter
In this photograph, the dark silhouettes of a round metal helmet and the barrel of an anti-aircraft gun are cast in stark relief against a partly cloudy sky. The viewer takes up a position just behind and below the left shoulder of a young Soviet soldier who points his weapon upward, evidently ready for enemy aircraft. The role of vision in defense against an aerial attack is both reinforced and paradoxically frustrated in this image: the prominently placed target and the binoculars of the man near the lower-left corner both indicate technologies for enhancing and focusing vision—functions arguably reiterated by the camera lens itself—and yet the enemy on whom these men and the viewer wait remains out of sight. This image forms part of Baltermants’ larger project—as an official photographer to the Kremlin—which, spread across numerous portfolios, aimed to document scenes from the Soviet Union’s fight against Nazi Germany during World War II (1939-1945), known in the USSR as the Great Patriotic War.  

Physical Description
View down the barrel of an anti-aircraft gun seen from behind the shoulder of a young soldier; another soldier with binoculars is visible in the lower left.

Primary Object Classification
Photograph

Collection Area
Photography

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
antiaircraft guns
binoculars
combat helmets
journalistic photography
soldiers
war photography
wars

4 Related Resources

Dmitri Baltermants photographs from WWII
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Combat, Battle, Warfare
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
World War II Images 
(Part of: Examples of Student Research in the Exchange)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display