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Disaster Photography: When is Documentary Exploitation?

A thoughtful and well-written article on ARTnews, by Richard B Woodward.

 

“………..The bloody mayhem of Russia’s invasion and retreat from Afghanistan, and the two U.S. invasions of Iraq, created what became known as “war porn,” while Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian and Japanese tsunamis, and Superstorm Sandy churned up tidal surges of “weather porn.” We’ve had the “nuke porn” of Chernobyl and “September 11 porn.”

Much visual material from these sad happenings circulates over the Internet without any historical context. Illustrious art photographers and photojournalists have been accused of framing these various cataclysms in ways that play on our instinctual responses of awe or terror or grief. In addition to Andrew Moore, the list of those drawn to portray scenes of modern-day devastation would include Robert Polidori, Richard Misrach, Sophie Ristelhueber, Mitch Epstein, Simon Norfolk, Brian Ulrich, Luc Delahaye, Joel Meyerowitz, Igor Kostin, Diana Thater, Pieter Hugo, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, and the members of VII Photo Agency…………”

 

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    1 comment to Disaster Photography: When is Documentary Exploitation?

    • FWIW, I think the very fact that more of us now demand and expect context, background and explanation to complete and complement “aesthetically interesting” photography is actually quite the step forward- and I’m hardly the optimist. It is now a large part of what differentiates “serious” photography from the immeasurable clutter that perpetually clouds our peripheral view.