Disaster Photography: When Does It Cross The Line?

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  1. #1
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  • #2
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    Tough one this, by not taking the image it does not make it not happen and on a personal level I feel we are "molly-goddled" too much by the state but also believe in the 9pm watershed for what can and cannot be shown on TV though I do think sometimes it is more political than practical.

    On the same time I remember when I was working in Northern Ireland many years ago and the IRA blew up a forensic lab just around the corner from where I was staying, back home in Yorkshire it got a mention in a 20 second slot on the news, in Ireland it got full coverage showing the residents (normal everyday people) in the area walking about dazed with blood streaming from their heads - brought it home more to me than had I been home and heard the short slot on our TV.

    Just my thoughts

  • #3

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    Interesting subject.

    I really think that people need to see the terrible things in life, on occasions. Had it not been for the media coverage showing the devastating aftermath, i honestly dont think people would have been interested in "donating". Dont get me wrong YES, there is people out there who would have donated, but i feel the majority would not.

    Not sure if i agree with having these pictures shoved in my face every time the news is on though..so there is a time when enough is enough..but whos to say when that time is? me? you?

    What i dont like about disaster photos though, is the ones you just know have been blatantly set up, ie a teddy bear lying amongst a pile of "rubble" everything around it is has been totally wiped out, but yet, this little teddy manages to escape unharmed! (pull the other one lol)


  • #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lapalex View Post
    What i dont like about disaster photos though, is the ones you just know have been blatantly set up, ie a teddy bear lying amongst a pile of "rubble" everything around it is has been totally wiped out, but yet, this little teddy manages to escape unharmed! (pull the other one lol)
    I agree. I remember seeing a photograph of a war scene where the photographer moved around the dead bodies to make the image more appealing. Save that for the studio. Let Mother Nature take her course .

  • #5
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    I can see why it can "cross the line" but in reality...that's life. Life is reality. I think that's a perfect example of serious photo journalism. This person did what they were paid to do, and they hit the bullseye without a doubt. Yes it might seem a little to extreme for public viewers (viewer discretion is advised), but honestly without photos like that, we wouldn't have taken it more seriously than we already have now by donating to help their causes. How many times do we hear things about on the news that really catches our attention? Not by much, but if we were to VISUALIZE the situation then we would react a lot faster than just changing radio stations for the next best song or waiting to hear the lottery drawings. I don't think there was any lines crossed when a photo like that helped getting the message across of Haiti needing help.

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  • #6

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    Nothing showing trying to show the true extent of the devastation, and they should be striving for the truth in their coverage of these events.

    The problem with the media (especially the news on TV) is that their overall coverage is focused entirely on negative events, such the earthquake in Haiti, local homicides, etc.

    One negative event after another on TV gives people warped perception of the world.

    They may present these individual events truthfully, but they don't present the world truthfully.

    Quote Originally Posted by smckeag81 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lapalex View Post
    What i dont like about disaster photos though, is the ones you just know have been blatantly set up, ie a teddy bear lying amongst a pile of "rubble" everything around it is has been totally wiped out, but yet, this little teddy manages to escape unharmed! (pull the other one lol)
    I agree. I remember seeing a photograph of a war scene where the photographer moved around the dead bodies to make the image more appealing.
    Wow, that's just sick.
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  • #7
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    There is an old saying in the news business "If it bleeds it leads"

    The purpose of the image is to tell the story, not make the story. Unfortunately we need bigger and bigger headlines to grab the attention away from some other story.
    Steve

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  • #8
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    Mathew Brady crossed that line years ago...
    say cheeseburger!!!

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