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Focusing on select works by Vietnamese socialist photographers, this chapter examines revolutionary forms of looking. The photographers’ approach to revolutionary looking by turns affirms and complicates the discourse of enablement that, Phu contends, lies at the core of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the optical unconscious. Attending to the work of socialist photographers shows how the camera could be enlisted for the purposes of promoting revolution. By examining oral histories and archival documents, Phu provides a critical description of revolutionary looking, and consider how it entails overcoming conditions of deprivation and violence—the result of asymmetrical warfare—in order to produce photographs, exhibiting images where least expected, and disarming opposing views by unsettling entrenched assumptions about what revolutionary photography is and the ideologies that it by turns obscures and reveals. However, in contemporary Vietnam, the widespread practice of photographic manipulation suggests that this history of revolutionary looking is undergoing political revision.

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