Visualising war: Photojournalism under fire

Authors: Allan, S. and Sreedharan, C.

Pages: 93-105

ISBN: 9780415712910

DOI: 10.4324/9781315850979

Source: Scopus

Visualising War: Photojournalism Under Fire

Authors: Allan, S. and Sreedharan, C.

Editors: Robinson, P., Seib, P. and Frohlich, R.

Pages: 93-105

Publisher: Routledge


The importance of bearing witness to what is transpiring in harrowing circumstances is a time-honoured lynchpin of war and conflict reporting (Allan, 2013; Azoulay, 2012; Batchen et al., 2012; Griffin, 2010; Hoskins and O’Loughlin, 2010; Kennedy and Patrick, 2014; Linfield 2010; Matheson and Allan, 2009; Parry, 2010, 2011; Stallabrass, 2013; Zelizer, 2010). Risk-taking is perceived to be ‘part of the job’, routinely accepted as being inescapable when the demands of image-making require closer proximity than reason dictates (Robert Capa’s well-known maxim, ‘If your picture isn’t good enough, you’re not close enough’, is recurrently upheld as a professional ideal). In striving to render problematic ‘our cameramediated knowledge of war’ (Sontag, 2003), this chapter explores a number of pressing questions confronting news photographers – both professionals of the craft and bystanders’ offering improvised contributions to newsmaking – committed to relaying what they see unfolding before them, however harrowing it may be. More specifically, the discussion examines a set of issues concerning war photography in relation to the Iraqi, Libyan and Syrian conflicts. This mode of enquiry strives to provide a basis to further elucidate the ethical imperative to bear witness as an epistemic conviction of war photography, particularly with regard to how it is being recast by citizens who find themselves compelled to generate their own embodied forms of visual documentation in war zones. In so doing, this chapter will endeavour to illuminate how war photography is evolving under pressure to rewrite the relationship between professionals and their citizen counterparts.

Source: Manual