Describing himself as a “historian of the present”, Abbas dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict. In a career that spanned six decades, he covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. The result of a process described by Abbas as “writing with light”, his images occupy a niche that spans both photojournalism and art. Pictured here, white doves are kept at the Yasukuni Shinto shrine in dedication to military personnel killed during Japan’s wars. They are considered to be spirits of the departed.

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