That we cannot fully trust the photograph is not suprising. The visual manipulation of history and current events continues.
ESWN, who apparently posseses a picture perfect memory, shares a recent photographic trespass by Chinese media. The event: The WTO protests in Hong Kong. No need to explain here, the two pictures speak for themselves.
Yet somewhere deep inside, we cannot resist the temptation to trust the image. Seeing is believing.
With or Without You
Stalin, after coming into power, commissioned films highlighting his participation in the Bolshevik Revoltion alongside Lenin and years later his triumphant march into Berlin with the downfall of Hitler. The fact was, Stalin was not in the Bolshevik uprising nor was he in Berlin. It was only after years after that Kruschev restored the original documentary film footage and photographs of the revolution to their unretouched state, sans Stalin. Glorification was not the only motive. Critical to Stalin's consolidation of power was the elimination of competition, better known as purges. It was the dying Lenin's explicit wish that Stalin not be his successor but instead favored Trotsky. Trotsky was years later assassinated in Mexico where he was in exile. Trotsky actually was photographed in close acquaintance with Lenin and in his participation with critical real events. Stalin systematically erased Trotsky from the photographs in an attempt to erase him from memory.
Wanted: Dead or Alive
Stalin was not an innovator by any means. We can look to Mathew Brady's war photographs from the United States Civil War. Certainly the Civil War was the bloodiest and deadliest that the United States has ever experienced. There is not dispute. However researchers have found cases where Brady had staged scenes for the camera, in some cases using people as corpses in one shot and as fighting soldiers in later shots.
Other unethical picture manipulations during the Civil War have been discovered by researchers. William Frassanito (1978) located two stereocard views attributed to Brady taken after the first battle of Bull Run in July 186 1. One view shows a group of standing, kneeling, and firing soldiers. The second picture titled, "Confederate Dead on Matthews Hill," shows the same group of soldiers lying on the ground, presumably killed. Frassanito disputed the authenticity of these scenes because Brady fled with the Union Army shortly after the battle and one man in the picture is dressed in a heavy overcoat, a strange wardrobe choice for July. "Someone apparently told the soldiers to pretend they were fighting in the one view," wrote Frassanito, "and then instructed them to pretend they were dead in the other" (pp. 31-32). Picture Manipulations
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Sources and reading
The Digital Journalist. Kerry: The Real Fake
Posted by on January 4, 2006 11:39 AM | Permalink