A Tale of Two Photos: Prize Vs Controversy

Photo by Paul Hansen

The image above is of Fabienne Cherisma, a 15-year-old female who was shot and killed by police after looting plastic chairs and framed artwork. It won 2011’s Swedish Picture of The Year Awards for the being the best International News Image.

In 2010 , the most powerful earthquake to hit Haiti in a century struck at a 7.0 magnitude. The damage was catastrophic for a nation amongst some of the poorest in the world. The photo featured above, by Photojournalist Paul Hansen, is one of most widely discussed photos from the aftermath of this devastation, because of it’s controversy in ethics. This dispute was brought to attention because of the following image, captured by photographer Nathan Weber:

In perspective, Weber’s image is a behind-the-scenes look at a group of photojournalists crowding around to capture the same tragic scene in Hansen’s prized photograph. Many of these photographers even continued to shoot after the grieving family arrived, as seen in Weber’s video production of the tragedy. Sadly, these two photos depict a common scenario for photographers to either bring awareness to such situations, or to simply gain a sense of notoriety for their work. Photos such as these stir up debate in exploitation of privacy and in the morality of photographers. Without these images, however, would fewer resources be sent out to aid?

In the age of social media, matters of privacy and exploitation coincide with daily streams of news and trends around the world. More than ever before in history, war and natural disasters are visually documented and are easily accessible. How important do you think it is to broadcast these types of tragedies? Should photos such as these merit an award?

Think about it.

[Via Politica y Sociedad]

Angela E. Mejia

Angela is a photographer/photojournalist/visionary raised in the mean streets of Chicago. Since 2008, she's covered everything from concerts for underground and mainstream artists, to food editorial, to just about every type of photography you can think of. Other interests include traveling, anything artsy, Chicago sports, and eating tacos.

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