Photojournalism has never really interested me personally. I’m a huge fan of film, yet pictures don’t captivate me in the same way: in most cases. While this may be due the fact that I’m color blind, it’s mostly due in part with the quality of pictures taken nowadays. It seems today’s journalists have focused their cameras on more artistic and abstract pursuits rather than doing what they should: effectively sum up a situation in one groundbreaking shot.
Some images in the news have really stuck with me, especially those of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse. While these shots weren’t even taken by photojournalists, (they were taken by US soldiers who sent them around in messages) the intentions behind taking them were for journalistic purpose, to bring an injustice to attention.
The images effectively sum up the situation: prisoners were tortured in inhumane ways all for the amusement of the ones carrying the acts out. I was appalled to see smirks of satisfaction on the faces of United States soldiers and was even more disgusted by the fact that the humor was a result of such morally perverted acts of abuse. One image that really stood out when I saw it was this one:
In a photo with a backdrop reminiscent of a “Saw” film, one is easily unsettled by the look of the detainee standing on a cardboard box. Donned in all black, his personage is like that of the “grim reaper.” With a soldier standing to the right with a camera in-hand, the image is even more disturbing: who would get pleasure out of taking such an eerie and disturbing picture?
By seeing just one photo, my interest in the story increased and I immediately wanted to see and learn more about it. This is how photojournalism should be used: to instantly appeal to viewers with shocking or captivating photography.