Bath in a ruined wood, Western Front, during World War I. This image of a British soldier curled up in the remains of a cast-iron bath in the middle of a devastated wood is typical of a range of ‘joke’ photographs taken by the war photographers. It is not clear if these were intended as artistic perceptions by the photographer, or if they were simply a record of a lighter side of war. The juxtaposition of banal and jokey images in a scene of war has been continued by war artists in more recent conflicts. A notable example would be John Keane’s Gulf War painting, ‘ Mickey Mouse at the Front’, painted in 1991.
“A view along the beach at Kuwait City with blocks of hotels and beach defences lining the seafront in the background. In the foreground there is a shopping trolley filled with anti-tank rockets, the Kuwaiti flag, dead and damaged palm trees, and a Mickey Mouse model from a fairground ride. The beach is also covered in excrement.”