03/21/2013 06:05 pm ET

War Photography: Annenberg Space Curates The World's Most Important War Photos

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY, the Annenberg Space for Photography's newest exhibit, is a harrowing collection of the history of war told through photographs from 1848 to present day.

The project, which spans conflicts in six continents, was ten years in the making. There are images that would be instantly recognizable to most, like the Eddie Adams photo of a police commander killing a Viet Cong operative in 1968, and the iconic image of Old Glory at Iwo Jima in 1945 photographed by Joe Rosenthal.

But the photographs don't just chronicle violence -- they also capture children and civilians; ceremonies and childhood bedrooms of the fallen. It's these quieter, lesser-known photos that captivate like a new song or a language you've never heard spoken.

The photographers who risk their lives to capture images are another fascinating element of the exhibit and an impressive short documentary film called "War Photographers" plays at the center of the museum. At a media preview for the exhibit in Los Angeles Wednesday, military photographer Edouard Glück recalled his commanding officer telling him, "you can do more with that camera than you can with a gun."

Another photographer, Carolyn Cole, described her work in darker terms: "We are taking photographs of things we don't want to see."

WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY includes the work of award-winning portrait photographers, photojournalists, military photographers, amateurs and artists. The exhibit opens on March 23 and will run until June 2.