These two tragic images of Fabienne Cherisma were taken in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. A 15yr old girl whom was not killed by the occurrence of the earth quake, rather was hit by bullets being fired by police in an attempt to deter looting. Both of these images denote the cataclysmic atmosphere of the situation in Haiti and the sheer devastation caused for all residents as their city crumbled. Signifying the desperation and fear ensuing from the natural disaster through the apocalyptic surroundings.
The first image, taken by Paul Hensen was chosen for the ‘Picture of the Year in Sweden’ in 2011. The second photo was Lucas Oleniuk’s work, which won the National Newspapers Awards in Canada of the same year, as both represented tragically beautiful scenes of human suffering.
With that in mind, how do you feel about this for contrast?
Having the circumstance altered as the reality becomes apparent, we see the full picture of the needy photographers scrambling to take a photo of this deceased, young adolescent, without any thought being taken for her dignity or attempts to treat her with respect. Thus having what is signified as a tragic event altered to convey to extreme opportunistic nature of photographers. Some may argue that they are just doing their job documenting the tragedy for the world to be informed, yet how much informing is actually going on? Although the scene is exactly the same we’re shown two conflicting perspectives from the opposing signifiers, the romanticisation of fatalities and devastation, alongside connotations to the commercialization of third world suffering for the mass media production in the first world.
The vulture like stance of the photographers depicting the exploitation of the catastrophe brings forward a confronting question of ethics. Each of images represent death, yet what is being signified is painstakingly conflicting.
How much truth is the media divulging? Because after all, ‘the images do not lie.
- Brook, P 2010 Fabienne Cherisma Prison Photography, viewed 19 March 2014
- Kim, E 2011 Is this Photo Ethical? Erik Kim Street Photography, viewed 19 March 2014
- (Author unknown) 2013 The First Photo Won a Prize; the Second Made a Controversy Explode Politica y sociedad, viewed 19 March 2014