August 07, 2006

Shaking the Dead


Not a PhotoShop, but quite obviously staged for Reuters cameraman Ali Hashisho's benefit, adding drama to the already dramatic picture of a hand protruding from the rubble. Pay special attention to the section of concrete-reinforcing iron rebar just over the victim's hand.


Another photo from the scene, this time from Mohammed Zaatari of the Associated Press. Notice the iron rebar has been bent out of the way, moved up and to the viewer's left, but that the rescuer's grasp on the victims' hand has been reestablished.


Another photo from Mohammed Zaatari. Perhaps it is merely an illusion due to how this photo was cropped, but it appears as if the rescuer may have moved slightly forward so that his hand is more parallel with the bottom of the photo, and that the rebar appears to have been bent downward to facilitate this pose.

Why would a rescuer move a piece of rebar two or possibly three times, reestablishing contact with the hand of a corpse each time, if not to create a more dramatic photo op for the Reuters and Associated cameramen assembled?

Update: A brilliant catch. The Passion of the Toys.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 7, 2006 02:34 PM | TrackBack

Linked from Old War Dogs.

Posted by: Bill Faith at August 7, 2006 03:50 PM

FWIW, that ain't like any rebar we use here in the US. The stuff we got here is hardened steel and don't bend so easy. In fact, you'd burn through a few Sawzall blades trying to cut a piece of the stuff. That looks more like a copper water pipe.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 7, 2006 04:23 PM

Yankee, your understanding of the photos above shows little understanding of how war zone and disaster photos are taken.

And, you object to a piece of rebar being moved?

Think about his for a second. Having photogprahed numerous disaster scenes myself (including Ground Zero) I can tell you without fail that you are barking up the wrong tree.

Why? Because to get to the victim in the picture, odds are that many peices of cement and rebar and other items were moved.

Is the photo posed? Yes. But, it is a very common pose amongst disaster photographers to convey scale (a childs hand for example to an adult hand) and color differentiation.

You obvioiusly don't understand the real world function of the picture. The first thing that every rescue worker (and some photographers if they are the first to find a victim) do once a body is found, is to grasp the hand to see if it is warm or cold. You know, alive or dead. As fate would have it, usually, it's the hands or the feet that stick out first. And, sometimes you find someone alive and that person is pulled out.

As a documentary photographer, this shot seems fairly common. It's also a cultural image. Touching a dead person is an act of serioius spiritual compassion in many other cultures. It is saying "you have been found, you are being taken care of..."

But, focusing upon the movement of the rebar, as you have, as some indication of overt posing, is just petty. As I said, its probable that many pounds of rubble was moved to get to the hand in the first place.

Do you object to that too?

Posted by: Camera A at August 7, 2006 07:02 PM

And, all of this is an inteesting discussion, but it soretly forgets one omportant fact:

People are still dying. Israeli's and Lebanonese.

I think Yankee, you object more to the existence of pictures of the dead than to the content and the fact that propaganda points are being scored with the dead.

Reality check. When there are dead bodies in a war, there is nothing you can do to make that pain go down easier. And, there is plenty that others can do to ensure that the dead are not forgotten in the fog of war.

Posted by: Camera A at August 7, 2006 07:09 PM

Camera A is giving us all a lesson on staging pictures for human consumption. Like a move production with numerous “takes” of the same scene, to get just the right movement, the right dialog, the right nuance, the right shadows and lights, disaster photos must show drama or pathos to get sold. And what Camera A is telling us is that he knows how to get his pictures sold.

As a documentary photographer, this shot seems fairly common. It's also a cultural image. Touching a dead person is an act of serioius [sic] spiritual compassion in many other cultures. It is saying "you have been found, you are being taken care of..."

Viola! That is the message that Camera A is selling. A shot of pathos; a shot of the horrors of war. Because otherwise we would not know that war involved killing and that war is horrible. Good God! (back of the hand to the forehead) I would not have know that except for Camera A’s explanation. What a brilliants, original insight!

By the way Camera A, how many hands have to touch a lifeless corpse before we know the persons’ dead? One, two, three or as many as you can find?

Posted by: Moenyrunner at August 7, 2006 09:15 PM

I have a better question.

Why is the child's head wrapped in cloth? Cloth that was apparently wrapped around the head before the body was sullied by the rubble on top of it? Funny things happen to loose textiles in explosions, but based upon other evidences of late, one has to wonder.

I mean, if the left can believe in 9-11 conspiracies, I can believe in a liberal, left- wing biased media that is so willing to concoct an anti-American story that it is capable of anything.

In view of Al Taqyyia, the work of Muslim stringers in the Middle East cannot be trusted.

Posted by: Warren Bonestel at August 7, 2006 10:45 PM

the whole point is that these images are being manipulated .. and that we must be suspicious of everything we see .. after all these images are coming from a totalitarian society (southern lebanon is under complete Hezbo control.)

Posted by: johnny nubian at August 7, 2006 10:55 PM

What is very very disturbing to me, besides the vilence and death on both sides, is the sense that some people think it is 'OK', to stage, fake, manipulate photos from lebanon because they are just showing what is "really" happening??

Posted by: just one voice at August 8, 2006 06:28 AM

Is it possible that someone (the guy with the black watch on his left wrist) is holding the iron rebar in his right hand, using it as a tool (crowbar)?

Posted by: PEPPI at August 8, 2006 07:41 AM

Check out the apparently faked pictures at Gateway Pundit - these ones ran in the NYT. LOL.

Posted by: Specter at August 8, 2006 09:18 AM

It amazes me that the same hapless Arabs who can't win a war or make the desert bloom have now become the masters, the originators, of media manipulation. But it must be true, because Wolf Blitzer, a former AIPAC exec and DC correspondent for the Jerusalem Post says so. He after all would know.
The Arabs are shaping world opinion with this trickery too, as any number of polls will show ( We know it can't be the Israeli bombing, or course, because we now know that is all photoshop).
The fact that the MSM has been overrun by Jihadists and Hezzbollah sympathizers is never so transparent as when we tune in every year to see those Årab-Americans handing each other awards on Oscar night.

Posted by: skip at August 8, 2006 09:19 AM

Question.... Why is the childs head covered?
Answer... Its probably the same poor child that was used in the other staged photos from Quana. You see, they read the blogs also, sooooo they need to adapt to a new tactic. God forbid its the same little girl that was loaded and unloaded in the ambulance.

Posted by: Faithful Patriot at August 8, 2006 11:49 AM

You guys have just totally completely lost it, haven't you?

Posted by: Pere Ubu at August 8, 2006 12:39 PM

What bother me in this photo, more then the fact of trying to give a handshake to a corpse, is a something that looks like a zombie head in the lower part of the photo. It is best seen on the lowest shot. Taking in to the account that bodies, in this part of the world, usually buried wrapped in a cloth, it looks to me very much like someone digging out a mass grave. Does anyone else have the same filling?

Posted by: huyakin at August 8, 2006 01:41 PM

Photo's have been staged since the Camera was around. A lot of the photo's you see of the U.S. Civil War were staged and I read accounts of photographers moving the bodies around so they can drape them out of Devil's Den just to get a more graphic picture.

That doesn't make it right, but it's been done for a long time.

The problem I have is with the Overall picture being portrayed. Isreal has every right to defend itself against a TERRORIST orginazition. The Media plays like it's Hezbolla that is the downtrodden. The MENTAL picture is worse then any others, staged photo's add to the false picture created.

Posted by: Retired Navy at August 8, 2006 01:56 PM

I agree with CameraA, It is not unseemly to prep a photograph for publication provided you do not chnage the factual evidence of that photo. Rueters stringer Hajj went way beyond preparing a photo for publication went he manupulating the image for dramatic effect. It is unfortunate but the ethics of the photographer must be qualified just like the qualifications of writers and of course bloggers.

Posted by: ron at August 8, 2006 03:59 PM

All photos before about 1930 were 'staged' They HAD to be just to GET them on film. It took LONG exposure time, back then.

But the thoughts that this is the SAME child, the hand is the right size, are very chilling... and creepy. BUT, It wouldn't surprise me at all.

Posted by: sometruth at August 8, 2006 05:17 PM

It is not unseemly to prep a photograph for publication

I think this statement says more about your headspace than anything else.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at August 8, 2006 06:00 PM

skip wrote:

It amazes me that the same hapless Arabs who can't win a war or make the desert bloom have now become the masters, the originators, of media manipulation.

You're absolutely right, after all, making the desert bloom, or winning a war, is just as difficult as manipulating the media, or running Photoshop.

Perhaps they didn't manage to win a war, or make the desert bloom because they are freaking corrupt; then you wonder why the Gaza strip is still a hell hole. After paying for the fancy houses, the Mercedez & BMWs, and vacations, you don't end up with much for the population, do you?

Lay off the weed, and then perhaps you'll be able to remember these videos. I guess the neocons were responsible for al-Durah too.

Posted by: dna at August 9, 2006 08:27 PM