The camera cannot lie, but it can be an accessory to untruth. –Harold Evans
As the most dangerous field of photography one could work in, Conflict Photography has fought diligently for its place among war-torn and conflict dense areas since the Crimean War of the 1800s. But there are those that continue to jeopardize the hard work and even deaths of photographers that have come before them by actually ‘staging’ riots and passing it off as news. Even worse, it creates a cloud of mistrust in what can be believed.
War photographers have been accused of staging photographs since they have been allowed on the fields in the late 1800s. It is a challenge that photographers have been aware of and many have made great leaps to restore trust and integrity to the field.
We have come to expect false images on the airbrushed covers of fashion magazines or highly photoshopped art, but in Conflict Photography the standards of wanting ‘truth’ has not wavered. Yes, the camera only captures what is in front of it, but how much manipulation of the subjects and situation takes place? We still look at these types of images and consider them gospel truth, after all, many of these photographers are putting their life in grave danger in order to capture it.
As photojournalists, it is our obligation to communicate the reality of a situation, not construct it.
Jason Howe, professional Conflict Photographer, recently stated in an interview that “everyone will have slightly different motivations for wanting to cover conflict, and these reasons often evolve over time. Some people want to try and bring an end to the wrongs they see happening by raising public awareness; some go as part of their own journey or life experience.”[rewind: Conflict Photography with Jason Howe]
It is for this reason that the following video by El Badil, an independent news source based in Cairo, Egypt, is so unsettling. The video shows a group of what appears to be Morsi supporters mid-riot and suffering fake injuries, frozen in position as photographers work their way around the scene. What is the public to believe?
Staged photojournalism mocks the true horror of war. It ignores the pain of others and pursues its own goal.
On August 14th, police stations, hospitals, churches, homes, businesses, as well as a monastery, three religious societies, three private schools and an orphanage were attacked in ‘protest’. The situation in Egypt is still unstable, and far too many people have lost their lives in this highly misunderstood situation.
As photojournalists, it is our obligation to communicate the reality of a situation, not construct it. It dishonors the field of photojournalism, the people impacted by violence, and the viewers.
Until Next Time . . .
~ Jules[via Picture Correct]