As an editor of illustrated military history books, I\'ve looked through, selected, captioned and arranged a lot more photos of military themes than most (though probably not as many as some of you have). Often authors have a very definite idea of what they want to illustrate their text, and I have to search for a specific item, view or depiction. I do however pride myself on having a fairly good \'eye\', and if possible I try to get a balanced, attractive selection of images. This can be quite tricky at times, but I am often pleasantly surprised, even delighted at the sheer beauty of some of the images I gather on my travels. Now don\'t get me wrong, I know that most of the artefacts we depict are either highly designed to cause massive, efficient devastation, or to protect their wearer or owner from the injury and death the enemy aims to deal them. Despite this, often because of the design that has gone into them, many are strangely, sometimes grimly or beguilingly, beautiful. This can be in the shape, silhouette, the detail, or the effect of massed items.
There are the obvious ones like the Battersea shield, or the detail on a Greenwich garniture; but also the effect of a defensive installation seen from the air, like these WWI trenches, or the eerie grace of an amphibious landing when seen from above, the hynoptic pattern of empty shell cases or even the otherworldly shape of a B2.
So am I deluding myself to stay sane while searching for yet more images of post-modification submarines, samurai armour variants and unblemished examples of a particularly rare helmet in colour? Or is there beauty in military hardware? Can arms and armour be art?
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