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ICONIC PHOTOGRAPHS, PUBLIC CULTURE, AND LIBERAL DEMOCRACY

No Caption Needed is a book and a blog, each dedicated to discussion of the role that photojournalism and other visual practices play in a vital democratic society. No caption needed, but many are provided. . . .

February 12th, 2010

Photographer's Showcase: "Haiti: Between Death and Life"

Posted by Lucaites in photographer's showcase

We welcome back our friend, humanist and photojournalist Peter Turnley, who has spent the past month in Haiti documenting the human struggle between life and death.  The slide show “Haiti: Between Death and Life” is cross posted from The Online Photographer.  To see the show click here or on the photograph below.

Turnley, Between Life and Death

Photo Credit: © Peter Turnley/Corbis.

2 Responses to ' Photographer's Showcase: "Haiti: Between Death and Life" '

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  1. Pete Brook said,

    on February 12th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Blake Andrews has a counterpoint opinion to the celebration of Turnley’s work, here:

    http://blakeandrews.blogspot.com/2010/02/prevailing-sentiment.html

    If there is much difference between Zoriah and Turnley, I don’t see it. Yes, Turnley shot on his own rather than selling the thing as an adventure. But basically it amounts to the same thing. Human suffering makes for great photographic subject matter. I won’t deny that fact, but to capitalize on it in any way is pathological. Both men do so, and to treat them so differently seems hypocritical.

  2. lucaites said,

    on February 13th, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Peter: Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It raises an interesting point, though I think the blogger who made the original post is a bit misguided. Surely there is a difference between promoting a safari like “adventure” at $4000 per head to use the site of catastrophe as a laboratory and classroom, and serving as a “witness”to catastrophe and suffering–while making the images available for free, I might add. Indeed, I’m hard pressed to understand how the later is in any way “pathological.” I suppose one could argue that any mode of reportage that capitalizes (financially or symbolically) is exploitative, but then one has to wonder why we would hold up photojournalists in particular as the villains and not focus our attention on all journalism–is the word less exploitative in this sense than the image? Or, to put it differently, would anyone really be better off if people like Peter Turnley didn’t dedicated their careers to recording and disseminating such images–either those who see the images or those who are seen in them? Turnley gets something out of it, to be sure, but if we reduce our sense of “exploitation” to anyone who earns a living at the expense of others in any way then most of us are culpable most of the time. Maybe we are, but that seems to be a problem with capitalism in general, not photojournalism in particular, and again it seems churlish to attack those who are guided by a more humanistic commitment.

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