Not long after their genesis, cameras started appearing on battlefields to document the victors and the vanquished. Photography’s role in conflict grew over time, evolving to include aerial surveillance and powerful propaganda.

In 1942, Derrick Woollacott entered the military and ended up kickstarting his career as a photographer at age 19. Lacking formal education after 14 and the financial means to own a camera, this was his best shot. After basic training in the Royal Air Force, he proceeded to photography boot camp in Farnborough, England, learning the mechanics of cameras, darkroom basics and all tasks related to reconnaissance missions, and afterward studied under the renowned portrait photographer Gordon Anthony at the Air Ministry in London.

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