A Picture May be Worth a Thousand Words, yet the Truth is Priceless.

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– Paul Hansen Photography

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-Lucas Oleniuk Photography

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?

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– Nathan Weber 

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.

Sources:

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4 thoughts on “A Picture May be Worth a Thousand Words, yet the Truth is Priceless.

  1. laurangela1

    its crazy ho a person can be lying there in the first place and these peoples first insincts are to take photos. its clear that the story they can make is more important.

    Reply
  2. Jess.Polak

    Putting those pictures together really puts it into perspective, it seems quite dehumanising as the cameraman’s need for the ‘perfect shot’ seems to overshadow the fate of the young child. Great post 🙂

    Reply
  3. charlotteolsen589

    Love how you have used the same image but from different angles – really strengthens your blog. Find it quite disgusting to think that a dead adolescent could be left lying there to have the media vultures jump at the opportunity for a ‘good’ photo.

    Reply
  4. erynsharp

    Wow. The change in my reaction as I read your blog was drastic to say the least (there may have been a jaw drop)… It’s incredible to look at this from the other perspective. The first images evoke a sadness to the horrors of war and natural disaster, but then the third representation instills horror at the media in our own society. As a photography student this particularly resonates with me, raising questions such as “what am I photographing?… and WHY?”. And it also reinforces that we should question what we see, and look beyond the camera lens.

    Reply

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