Nobody could deny the power of pictures. They promote empathy and images seem to be ideal tools for cultivating emotional identification with others. But what we should not ignore is that some artistic pictures are controversial. This brings out the classical question: What a role should photographers play? Just take a look at the following most controversial pictures in the word.
End Times by Jill Greenberg—Trick and Treat
The picture is one of End Times by the Canadian photographer Jill Greenberg. To catch the sorrow and grievance
of the children, she had a group of children including her daughter the clothes taken off and rap their lollipop which had been provide just before the shoot.
The Starving Sudan by Kevin Carter—-To live or die
This picture may be the most famous picture in controversy,. In March 1993, while on a trip to Sudan, Carter was preparing to photograph a starving toddler trying to reach a feeding centre when a hooded vulture landed nearby. Carter reported taking the picture, because it was his “job title”, and leaving. He was told not to touch the children for fear of transmitting disease. He committed suicide 3 months after winning the Pulitzer Prize.
The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this of Carter: “The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.”
The picture stunned the world. Hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask the fate of the girl. However, who is responsible for the girl’s plight? Should the cameraman?
A picture of wolfs—–An outsider of the world
As Sontag remarks, ‘A photograph is supposed not to evoke but to show.’ A photographer plays a role who pursuits a frozen image of a neat slice of time. Sometimes they shoot someone who is suffering starve, war or other adversities. Sometimes they take pictures of cruel and even bloody scenes in the animals’ world.
It seems that sometimes there is an inevitable barrier between the humanity and the pursuit of artistic vaule. Anyhow, photographers play a role as a recorder of sweetness and bitterness. They sometimes choose to be an outsider of the word as well as the nature, the fact which is acknowledged by us. By viewing a single picture we can judge the professional skill but never the humanity of a cameraman.
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