A Cold War Tourist and His Camera

Tuesday 15 March at 18:30
Concordia University

Martha Langford
Concordia University
John Langford

University of Victoria

Cold War-era imagery is defined by the striking contrast between the ideal of the nuclear family and the nightmare of nuclear annihilation. In 1963, Warren Langford, a Second World War air force veteran and career public servant, travelled through Europe, North America, and Africa as part of the National Defence College’s curriculum of Cold War training. Langford, never before much interested in photography, bought a camera and produced some 200 slides of his travels. In their recent book, A Cold War Tourist and His Camera, his art-historian daughter and political-scientist son bring his photographs – an unexpected combination of iconic images of Cold War dangers and touristic snapshots – back into view. Martha Langford and John Langford examine their father’s apparently innocuous photographic experience, revealing the complexity of both the images and their creator. Looking at the ways that the historical and the private are represented and remembered, they stage the family slide show as you’ve never seen it before.


Followed by a book launch, co-hosted by the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, McGill-Queen’s University Press, and the Art History Graduate Students Association.


Martha Langford holds a Concordia University Research Chair in Art History and is the author of Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums and Scissors, Paper, Stone: Expressions of Memory in Contemporary Photographic Art.


John Langford is a professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria and is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles on administrative reform and public sector ethics.


Image: Berlin, 1963



Of Related Interest:


Martha Langford’s Concordia faculty page


John Langford’s University of Victoria faculty page


A Cold War Tourist and His Camera

Concordia Journal article: "Nuclear Family and Nuclear War"