Memorable Photojournalism
December 20, 2012 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Time magazine has selected its best wire photojournalist. (Warning: many very disturbing photos.) He is Marco Longari, whose vivid photos of telling moments are almost all from the Middle East. Bonus: Time has also posted Pete Souza's "Portrait of a Presidency."
posted by bearwife (10 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
related: Overexposed: A Photographer's War with PTSD in The Atlantic.
posted by vespabelle at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pete Souza! Four more years! Seriously, he shoots wonderful photos, which are a stark contrast to the shots to come out of Romney's campaign.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:42 PM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thanks for posting! These are wonderful pictures.
posted by michellenoel at 4:08 PM on December 20, 2012

The problem with war photography is that its vividness encourages us to uncritically accept its associated narrative. We don't know, just by looking at them, whether they have been staged or perhaps just improved.

Even when the photo and the scene is unaltered, our interpretation of it is typically shaped by its caption. One of Longari's photographs shows the remains of a young man allegedly killed by an Israeli air strike. It's a very affecting photo, and I have little doubt that his relatives' grief is genuine. But is it a truthful photograph? An "AFP correspondent at the scene" reports that "there were no signs of any impact on the ground which could have been caused by a missile, with the most likely cause of his death being some kind of explosive device he was carrying."

There's no suggestion that Longari actually knew the circumstances of the child's death, but he was hardly likely to have been hanging around a morgue looking for a good shot: whoever brought him there did so to use him, to create a good piece of propaganda for Hamas. Longari or his editor should have been more sceptical, or at least said where their information came from.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:26 PM on December 20, 2012

Even if that specific one was staged, Joe, there's plenty of innocent deaths that weren't.
posted by Malor at 5:45 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Even if that specific one was staged, Joe, there's plenty of innocent deaths that weren't.

I don't know if that photo was staged, but that statement is exactly what I'm talking about. War photos are part of journalism and moral truthiness doesn't justify a faked photo or a misleading caption. The apparent truth of the story (that a 15-year old was killed while transporting explosives) is worthy of attention in its own right: for whom was he carrying it? Did he do this regularly? How many other kids are used this way? I suppose we'll never find out, because his death has been used to tell us that CIVILIANS GET KILLED DURING WARS. Which we knew.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:58 PM on December 20, 2012

Souza really is a great photographer. I'd totally buy a coffee table book of his photos of the Obama presidency. Hope he publishes one!
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:18 PM on December 20, 2012

Souza's "Portrait" is great. And I learned something: Apparently the president has (or had?) his own signature printed on the pen he uses to sign bills?
posted by limeonaire at 7:00 PM on December 20, 2012

filthy light thief: thanks for that great link.

JASON: Again, Pete Souza is DYING inside, thinking that he could be replaced by whoever is talking these pictures.

ANA MARIE: "Just… focus? Could you learn to focus? I will teach you! Composition can come later!"

JASON: Souza would never allow that napkin to be in the shot.

ANA MARIE: Souza would never allow anything in that picture. That picture would be obscured by blood drawn by Souza's own hand before he'd allow that to be shown to anyone.

posted by longdaysjourney at 7:46 PM on December 20, 2012

I don't imagine the 10 month old girl killed in the drone strike was doing other than being a baby. My daughter is 10 months old in a week. I can't imagine the grief, or the rage captured in that photo.

I get that asymmetric warfare is complex, and that the line between combatants and non-combatants is not a clear one. But I can't get my head around the idea of babies being killed in the name of war.
posted by tim_in_oz at 2:37 AM on December 21, 2012

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