Tag Archives: photography

The Israel/Palestine Photoshop War

Images and perception are now widely considered as an important aspect of contemporary conflict, and some scholars even go as far as regarding images as weapons of war. Regardless of if they are weapons or not, images are being used in strategic ways on social media by both the Israel Defence Force and Palestinians in the context of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The IDF, have been circulating images across social media sites like twitter and instagram. These images range from photographs of IDF troops and weapons, to infographics which talk about the number of rockets fired by Hamas. The destruction of Gaza is sanitised through its invisibility.

On the Palestinian side the images tell a different story. These images are harrowing, they depict horrors that are very real; flattened neighbourhoods, grieving families, injured and dead children.

One development in this conflict that has caught my attention has been the use of images that have not simply been edited, but have been completely faked by the use of digital editing software.

For example the IDF has instagrammed these two images;

Whereas these images have been circulated by Palestinians;

These images are interesting for several reasons. Their content is completely faked; missiles and explosions have been digitally added to photographs. The similarities of these sets of images are quite revealing, both sets of images are aimed at invoking a sense of empathy in audiences.

They use similar locations; New York is used by both parties, Paris is used by one and London is used by the other. Thus attempting to address the ‘west’ by drawing upon (somewhat crassly) previous terror attacks such as 9/11 and 7/7. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the IDF haven’t tried to address audiences in Cairo or Dubai, but they have in Ireland…

What does this addressing of different audiences reveal about the strategies and intentions of the actors involved in the conflict? How are audiences responding to these clearly faked images? And what is the impact of this?

There’s potentially an interesting research project on this case here, and I think we need to consider how we account for fake content in our understandings of images and their political significance. War has never been so photoshopped.

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World Press Photo Awards 2014

The World Press Photo Awards have been announced today and they feature some amazing  photography by some of the best photojournalists on the planet.

The awards go to the very best images created by photojournalists. Judged by a panel of experts ‘the contest creates a bridge linking the professionals with the general public. As the announcement of the winners makes headlines around the world, so the inspirational role of photojournalism is highlighted to an audience of hundreds of millions.’

The World Press Photo Awards have now been running for 55 years and the prize winning photos from this year are all worth checking out. Below are a few of my personal favourites, selected because they not only show important events but because they are incredibly good photos.

The main prize of the The World Press Photo Award 2014 has gone to John Stanmeyer and it’s a powerful shot of ‘African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia’.

Photo by John Stanmeyer

This image by Taslima Akhter was awarded 3rd in the category of spot news singles and is particularly haunting; taken in the aftermath of a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh.

Photo by Taslima Akhter

Moises Saman won the 2nd prize in the general news singles category with this image of a bomb maker in Aleppo, Syria.

Photo by Moises Saman

In the general news stories category, William Daniels was awarded second with his images from the Central African Republic. Here, a young girl stands in the doorway of a house. Two days earlier a member of her family, 21-year-old Fleuri Doumana, was killed by a grenade launched by a member of the Muslim militia.

Photo by William Daniels

Christopher Venegas, was awarded 3rd prize in the contemporary issues singles category. His image shows police arriving to a crime scene where five people have been killed in retaliation against other organized criminal groups in Mexico.

Photo by Christopher Vanegas

In the daily life singles category, Julius Schrank won first prize. His image shows Kachin Independence Army fighters, in the besieged Burmese city of Laiza, drinking and celebrating at a funeral of one of their commanders who died the day before.

Photo by Julius Schrank

Tanya Habjouqa won second prize in the daily life stories category. Her series of images explores small moments of pleasure where ordinary Palestinians demonstrate a desire to live, not just simply survive. This image depicts a young man enjoying a cigarette in his car as the back-up finally clears at a check point on the last evening of Ramadan. The sheep is being brought home for the upcoming Eid celebration.

Photo by Tanya Habjouqa

Peter van Agtmael’s portraits of Bobby Henline have been awarded second place in the observed portraits stories category. American soldier Bobby Henline was the sole survivor of an IED blast in Iraq. ‘The bones in his face were fractured, burns covered close to 40 percent of his body, and his left hand later had to be amputated. He spent two weeks in a coma. After a long recovery, Henline started providing comic relief for other burn survivors.’ This is an image of him in a Dallas motel, Bobby is now a standup comedian with a routine built around his injuries.

Photo by Peter van Agtmael

Images are one of the main ways in which we make sense of what’s going on around the world and with the proliferation of image making technologies, some people have argued that photojournalism is dying. Whether that’s the case or not, the World Press Photo Awards 2014 show that professional photojournalism is still an incredibly powerful, moving, and important art form.

View all of the World Press Photo Award 2014 winners here.