Essay about Dilemma in Photo Journalism

Essay about Dilemma in Photo Journalism

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In March of 1993, South African photographer, Kevin Carter, snapped a photograph of an extremely malnourished child in Sudan. In this picture, the child's ribs are exposed and she is crouched in the fetal position. The story of the photograph paled in comparison to the demand for information regarding Carters involvement before and after capturing the image. The unique context of Carter's photo raises a number of different points and questions in regards to photojournalism. First, what is the role of the photographer when he or she is capturing these controversial images? What kind of political and social action can a photographer expect? Secondly, the issue of duress and emotional unrest endured by the photographer’s subject is given little voice. How do these photographers deal with the trauma of experiencing some of the world’s most devastating situations? Is it a different variety of post-traumatic stress? The public needs to be more aware of the baggage these journalists must carry with them for the duration of their lives.
I came across this photo in my email; an old friend sent it to me. She had received it from her mother. Immediately, I was drawn to the intensity of the image; both horrified and intrigued. It seems that these kinds of images circulate through the media quite often. However, this one in particular is unforgettable. Perhaps it has to do with the informal style of the photo. I set out immediately to discover more about the image. Was the child a girl or a boy? Was it in Africa or somewhere else? What I was most interested in though, was finding out what happened to the child. Did he or she live or die?
The image made me think about the fact that this child is one among millions that is su...

... middle of paper ...

...theid South Africa. Secondly, his experience should influence his peers, hopefully inspiring them to seek help if it is needed, to take time away from their duties, to ensure that they remain mentally stable in the wake of the horror and suffering they experience.

Works Cited

Dougherty, Sean Thomas. “Killing the Messenger.” The Massachusetts Review 47.4
(2006): 608-616. Web. 25 November 2011.
Kleinman, Arthur. “The Appeal of Experience; The Dismay of Images: Cultural
Appropriations of Suffering in Our Times.” Daedalus 125.1 (1996): 1-23. Web.
26 November 2011.
Macleod, Scott. “The Life and Death of Kevin Carter.” Time Magazine 144.11
(1994): 70. Web. 25 November 2011.
Matloff, Judith. “Eye on Apartheid: The Legacy of Kevin Carter.” Columbia Journalism
Review 33.4 (1994): 57+. Web. 26 November 2011.

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