Exercise : Seeing is believing

Read the WeAreOCA blog post ‘Seeing is believing’

http://weareoca.com/photography/seeing-is-believing/

Read all the replies to it then write your own comment , both on the blog page and in your own blog. Make sure you visit all the links on the blog post. Base your opinion on solid arguments and , if you can , refer to other contributions to the blog.

Jose poses the question ‘Seeing is believing Or is it ? ‘

The growth of social media and the immediacy of digital imagery has made it possible for us to watch wars unfold from the comfort of our own sitting rooms. A major downside to the proliferation of such imagery is that photographs of dead bodies and atrocities increasingly fail to repel the viewer, they have become so commonplace as to be cliched, something Anna reflects on.

The conscious decision of the US government not to release images that corroborated beyond doubt the reported death of Osama bin Laden acknowledged ‘the power of the photograph’ (Sean O’Hagan Guardian). Hence I agree entirely with Matt James that if published the images could possibly have provoked an incendiary response from Laden’s fundamentalist followers . Jose’s remark ‘it has reminded us that photography still has documentary value after all’ is a prompt that despite the overload of images we are subjected to on a daily basis there is still a place for sensitive and thoughtful documentary reportage. Yet I also agree with Richard’s comments that no image can be completely objective , at some point a subjective choice has been made , be that a politically motivated or otherwise , decision.

Reading the blog post brought to mind a photograph I was shown many years ago whilst still at school. A school friend had Polish parents whose relatives still lived there , when her grandmother died the family were sent a photograph of the dead grandmother in her coffin . She brought the photograph into school , we were fascinated having never seen such a picture before ! She had told us her grandmother had died , we believed her , yet she still brought this photograph in as proof of her death. At that young age it was all the additional proof we needed , yet how can I really know the body in the coffin was in fact her grandmother ?– I can’t and therefore I don’t need a photograph of Osama’s body as proof of his purported death.

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