Collected Shadows: The Archive of Modern Conflict

The Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC) is an organisation and independent publisher which holds a growing collection of over 8 million photographs collected from diverse sources all around the world.

The AMC was established twenty-five years ago, as an archive of ephemera and vernacular material relating to the First and Second World Wars. Since then the AMC collection has ceased to be defined by war and has expanded to encompass a plethora of subject matter. Collected Shadows, curated by the AMC’s Director Timothy Prus, is an enigmatic exhibition that presents 200 photographs offering a rare glimpse into these extraordinary holdings.

From early photography in the 1850s to the present day, Collected Shadows displays a vast array of images, taken by both professionals and amateurs, which juxtapose time periods, geographies and photographic techniques. Cross-cultural and transhistorical, the exhibition combines images of earth, air, fire, water, divinity, astrology, flight and portraiture, creating associations between the Elements, the cosmos and humanity.

‘The areas covered in this show are more than eclectic,’ writes Prus, ‘In one moment we will be in the Pacific Ocean of the 19th century and the next in outer space. African kings rub shoulders with 19th century botanical images printed in the beguiling cyanotype blue. Icebergs sit next to studies of cabbage leaves. Still, the salon style hang establishes connections between these most disparate worlds.’

This exhibition has been shown in Paris, San Francisco and Toronto, but this will be the first time in the UK.

Featured Photographers


Brassaï, Eugène Atget, René Barthélemy, Johann Böhm, Paul Burty Haviland, Anthony Cairns, Thomas Cooper, Edward Curtis, Paul-Émilie Miot, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Mario Giacomelli, Bert Hardy, Maxwell R. Hayes, John K. Hillers, Dimitri Ivanovich Ermakov, Jules Janssen, Bertha Jaques, Frances Benjamin Johnstone, Guillermo Kahlo, Marketa Luskacova, Étienne-Jules Marey, Digne Meller Marcovicz, Charles Nègre, Ferdinand Quénisset, Jaroslav Rössler, Willi Ruge, Ema Spencer, Fredrik Carl Størmer, Charles Henry Turner, Dorothy Wilding, Sergei Yutkevich and Count Theodore Zichy.

Exhibition tour dates

Void, Derry

12 August – 7 October 2017

Stills: Centre for Photography, Edinburgh

2 February – 8 April 2018

The Edge, University of Bath

20 April – 16 June 2018

Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University

6 July – 1 September 2018

Exhibition catalogue

A special exhibition edition of the fully illustrated catalogue including a new essay by the writer and critic Brian Dillon.