Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Conflict Photography Yesterday, Today and... Tomorrow?

(AP Photos/David Guttenfelder)

So there I was scrolling transfixed from one outstanding image to another until I get to the money shot, or as it was in this case, the pure and simple gag shot- a US soldier in his boxers, firing away, rifle in hand. One absolutely incredible set of images (via Tywkiwdbi), and the most famous in David Guttenfelder's entire essay is the joker. So what, if anything, does this say about the current state of (conflict) photojournalism?

Think of the Viet Nam images that have been seared into our collective consciousness: the wounded black soldier rushing to the aid of his stricken white comrade, the impromptu execution via gun to the head, the "napalm girl" running down the road, the bodies littering My Lai... With all our digital high tech, supermulti megapixel immediacy- will the boxer photo be the iconic image to inform and remind us of this current debacle? A war initiated by a dunce then conducted like some token forgotten afterthought- perhaps it is only fitting it be commemorated by a comic strip image shooting an invisible enemy. Perhaps that's the true legacy of a history we were once allowed to remember by the lives that were lost and the blood that was shed- modern conflicts where even our own dead are purposely shunned, ignored, and forgotten.

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