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Should photos like Massoud Hossaini's Pulitzer Prize winner be published?
And should they win prizes?

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18 replies to this topic

#1 Froger

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:03 PM

This is possibly the most horrific photo I have ever seen in my life. No one can look at this photo and not weep. If you haven't seen it yet be warned it contains terrible images of deceased children if you decide to google it.

I looked at it and wondered if it needed to be published, or is it just too horrific? It is up there with the photo of Phan Thị Kim Phúc in its horrific nature.

It is a terrible terrible photo and just devastating. What is the value of seeing this, or should we all know what is happening in such graphic detail so we really have a grasp of what is actually happening? And should it win such a prize?

I don't know. I am glad for war correspondants and investigative journalist, especially those  like Jo Frost, Anna Politkovskaya and of course John Pilger, without whom so may things would never be known and nothing would change. Perhaps we need to know and see these details to get outraged enough to do something. But my God, just so terrible to bear knowing about these things sometimes, when what can you do as an individual?

This photo has really affected me badly, I am shaking.

Edited by SarahM72, 18 April 2012 - 12:07 PM.

#2 BadCat

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:14 PM

I'm in two minds about photos like this.

On the one hand I do think they serve the purpose of bringing home the atrocities that people live with and opening our eyes to the world.

On the other hand I think there is a voyeuristic side to these sorts of images that is unhealthy.

As to whether it should win a prize?  Yes, I think that's entirely valid.

Edited by BadCat, 18 April 2012 - 12:19 PM.

#3 Futureself

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:15 PM

QUOTE (SarahM72 @ 18/04/2012, 12:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It is a terrible terrible photo and just devastating. What is the value of seeing this, or should we all know what is happening in such graphic detail so we really have a grasp of what is actually happening? And should it win such a prize?

Yes, it is devastating, it is horrific, and it should upset the viewer. It is also extraordinary. The courage and ability of photojournalists to bring such images to 'our' world should definitely be acknowledged with such a prize - the alternative is censorship of actual events because we deem some folks to 'precious' to be upset by them. The fact that you do compare it to Phan Thị Kim Phúc simply proves this point of their power, the ability to stay with us and perhaps teach us.
I am *glad* of such amazing people, such images. I deserve to know what the 30 second news story really means and there is no better way than 'seeing' it for myself. No matter how much that pains me.

#4 steppy

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

I'm on the side of publishing. It's too easy to pretend this doesn't happen.

#5 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:19 PM

I think a lot of the time, we need to see something so confronting to really jolt us. It's too easy to sit here, on the other side of the world, and "forget" that they are real people, real children that are suffering in the news articles we read and watch on tv. It's horrifying, but it's really happening and I think we need to see photos like this in order for it to hit home.

I also think it deserved to win. Not only for what the photo stands for, but the actual photography is really quite good considering the circumstances.

I do agree about the voyeuristic element too. But I think the benefits of a photo like this outweigh those negatives.

#6 steppy

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:22 PM

On the voyeuristic aspect, I feel the photographer, the image and the other viewers are not responsible for how some people might view this image. Pre-photography, pre-television, people liked to go out to a good hanging or maybe even a drawing and quartering or a stoning.

#7 Fluster

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:24 PM


A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a nightmare of a photo of an injured marine - I think from Iraq, I clicked away pretty quickly, it was extremely graphic.  Until I saw it, I'd really just forgotten about Iraq... all wars, really, I just got caught up in my own little world.  

Words are easily forgotten, and I can tune out the news like you wouldn't believe, but one image made me stop, look at my selfishness, the awful way I can speak to and treat people, and social injustices, and take the time to address my faults. You can't necessarily stop a war, but being confronted with human suffering really makes me think about the things, and attitudes, I can change.


Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:25 PM

Yes it is a distressing photo, but without photos of these things when they happen it just makes it easier for people to deny they  ever happened.

#9 naards

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:25 PM

QUOTE (steppy @ 18/04/2012, 12:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm on the side of publishing. It's too easy to pretend this doesn't happen.

Absolutely agree.  I am very shaken by it too but it is truly a representation of what is happening and I think it is important for people to recognise it.  So so sad!!!  sad.gif

#10 Froger

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:37 PM

One thing I didn't think of until now, is that Massoud of course was also there at the time of the blast. He also is a victim, not just a voyeuristic onlooker. Actually I think that makes a difference.

#11 Guest_holy_j_*

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

Yes absolutely it should be published and a prize is warranted. We get such a censored view of what really happens in many countries compared to other places in the world. It's easy to distance yourself from the realities, press attention to such photos help the rest of the world to see that it is real, that they are people just like us and the suffering they have to endure.

I was just looking at pictures on an arabic page last night, pictures of an African man in the throes of starvation reaching out, an emaciated african child drinking from a filthy pool of water, a starving mother burying her emaciated child, unarmed palestinians standing up to armed IDF guards, children who were the victims of attacks both military and suciide bombing.

The fact that it has evoked such a strong reaction in you OP speaks volumes.

#12 Razman

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:44 PM

Its a horribly graphic awful photo of an absolutely tragic event. Like OP the photo left me shaking and upset. I wish I hadn't seen it. Its at the top of the SMH website.

But I do think it should be published, maybe not on the front page of the website and definitely with a warning, but published nevertheless. Because it does convey the impact of the terror and misery imposed on innocent people in a way words never will.

And I do think it deserves the award.

#13 findingada

Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:50 PM

I think photos like this need to be published. Like others have mentioned, I think people become a bit too detached from the horrors of what is going on in the world today. How often do you skim over news articles about another suicide bomber? I know I stopped reading out what is happening in Afghanistan a long time ago. Photos like this remind me that the suffering has not stopped and the horror is on-going. We need to feel and be moved by what is really going on otherwise we are living a life lost in the fictional constructions of others.

#14 MuppetGirl

Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:05 PM

Absolutely it should be published. It is too easy for us (by us I mean those not living, experiencing or witnessing these events) to forgot that this happens in our world, that people suffer from events like this every single day.

I think there should be a warning attached to the photo and that it shouldn't be splashed on front pages of newspapers or website where people do not get a choice at seeing it, but I think it is important that we do not shield ourselves from these things and that we understand the gravity of situations like this.

I don't want to live with rose coloured glasses on. I am forever grateful for the life I live, but I also want to have my eyes wide open to the fact that not everyone in this world is so lucky. I may not be able to do much to help but I won't live in ignorance.

#15 Canberra Chick

Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:10 PM

yes it should be published - and the girl in the centre is what makes it. The bright colours (so cheerful, as if they don't belong there) and her screaming reaction to the horror around her jolts the mind.

We hear stories on the news of another 30 dead in Kabul, Baghdad etc and it goes in one ear and out the other. Humans are visual creatures and this says far more than a worthy Lateline 5 minute feature.

#16 Snorlax

Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

I think it is incredibly disturbing & that it should be published!

I know people who still say they don't watch/read the news because they find it too disturbing, I wonder how can things ever change if we're censoring & sheltering ourselves from the painful realities that other people in the world endure!?!

I did read that whilst he was there & was injured that people around him were calling for his help but he took photos instead. Now he may well not have been able to help those people & by taking such photos he has probably helped future generations there to take action to 'fix' this situation. But I can't deny that when I read that I felt a little cold.

#17 Expelliarmus

Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:00 PM

I think they should be. Before images of war like this were published (historically the Vietnam war), war was romanticised.

We don't need to go back there.

#18 meljb

Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:26 PM

OP I had similar thoughts when I saw the image this morning. It is very disturbing. I came to the conclusion that we definitely need images like this published, otherwise we forget the reality of what is going on and we also lose some of the historical record. I remember the photos we saw in high school history and how they brought to life what we were studying and reminded us that we were looking at real people and real events. I've used images like this since in my own teaching and, as the cliche says, a picture is worth a thousand words.

#19 matt1972

Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:34 PM

QUOTE (Belle~Vie @ 18/04/2012, 01:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think it is incredibly disturbing & that it should be published!

I know people who still say they don't watch/read the news because they find it too disturbing, I wonder how can things ever change if we're censoring & sheltering ourselves from the painful realities that other people in the world endure!?!

I did read that whilst he was there & was injured that people around him were calling for his help but he took photos instead. Now he may well not have been able to help those people & by taking such photos he has probably helped future generations there to take action to 'fix' this situation. But I can't deny that when I read that I felt a little cold.

That's really the only problem I have with it. After googling the image and reading that he took a bunch of photos then took off to upload the photos to potential publishers it kind of doesn't sit well with me.

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