Wright Museum of World War II presents the exhibit,The Forgotten War: Korea 1950

From June 24 to August 12, 2018, the Wright Museum of WWII in Wolfeboro will host the photographic exhibition, “The Forgotten War: Korea 1950.” The exhibit, 35 remarkable photos by Max Desfor, originally opened in Seoul in 2014 and traveled throughout Korea where more than 250,000 people saw it.

Desfor was an Associated Press photographer who covered WWII and other events in troubled parts of the world. To show its appreciation for his challenging work, the Associated Press assigned him to Florida in 1950 as a staff photographer. Instead, he chose to cover the Korean War.

Desfor remembered that his AP boss said, “That war won’t last more than two weeks.” He spent three dangerous years in Korea from 1950-1953. Using a Graflex camera, he captured the people’s plight and the world of the American soldiers who fought in that war. Even though he was a professional photographer, he lived like a soldier, suffering in the extreme cold and witnessing the horror and destruction that surrounded the Americans while recording images with his camera.

He remembered making his best photos when the North Korean army took the city of Pyongyang. To avoid capture, he and his reporter fled town and made it over the Yalu River on a pontoon bridge in a jeep driven by a signal corps photographer. Immediately after crossing, he looked to his right and saw an old bridge covered with people. The bridge had been destroyed during bombing, yet people were crawling over the bridge to escape the North Korean army. Climbing a ridge, he found an overlook. Conserving his 4×5 Pan X 100 ASA film, he made just a handful of images in the freezing weather.

“We invite all to take this rare opportunity to see these iconic images of what has been called a ‘Forgotten War,’” said Michael Culver, executive director of the museum. “This is a war in which almost 40,000 Americans died and more than 100,000 were wounded.”

While covering the Korean War, 20 of his photographs were submitted by the AP for consideration by the Pulitzer Prize Committee. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1951.

After this ‘Forgotten War,’ he went on to cover Vietnam and President Richard Nixon’s 1976 trip to China. In 1978, he left the AP to become a photo editor at U.S. News & World Report. A year later, he was named director of photography.

Max Desfor died on Feb. 19, 2018, in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was 104.

Wright Museum is open daily through Oct. 31 with hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.