Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Are there pictures that we shouldn't see?

After flight MH 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine, Magnum-Photographer Jérôme Sessini took pictures that some commentators felt shouldn't be shown because they would hurt the dignity of the deceased and their family members. It was also argued that pictures that are published should take into account the feelings of the readers and viewers respectively.

I do not name the sources of these comments because they are in no way original, they can be heard again and again, and I feel that the question whether we shouldn't be shown certain photographs needs to be addressed in principal.

It is argued that to show images of victims of war (or of accidents) are an affront to the dignity of the deceased and can add to the immediate grief of families. I must admit that I do not really understand what dignity in the context of war means. Soldiers are trained to kill. Killing and dignity, in my view, do not exactly go hand in hand. So how come then that killing in the context of war is accepted but what results from this killing should not be shown?

For more, see here

1 comment:

Trevor Wilson said...

Because the brutal reality could upset large segments of whole populations; further expose that which is superfluous and common in media culture, and really raise anti-war sentiment.

Really liking your book reviews, and yes, I too am baffled at the idea the public should not see. Seeing reality elsewhere is part of being an informed citizen. Some are against that.