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  • Damien Williams

Week 10 & 11: Criticality: Webinar task and practical

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

The Forum task was to share a photograph that had the potential for multiple readings:

To paraphrase Dan Winters' observation from his book 'A road to seeing', the reading of this image initially appears to be clear, until you think of who the real 'victim' of this image is. This is not to belittle the obvious loss of life that has been 'recorded' by this image, but seeking to scratch the surface and seeing how each participant of the image is affected.

Eddie Adams' photograph of South Vietnamese police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong Officer in Saigon, Vietnam (1968) Photograph: Eddie Adams/AP

Read and interesting article on the wider subject of Photojournalism here.

The obvious victim has been shot! That still stands. The general, also became a victim of the power of this image because he was seen as the aggressor. Part of the power of photography is that it is often 'held' as an artefact of truth. That truth is contextualised as 'real' because as a human we often determine real as the same as visual truth. Well at least at the time that this photograph was taken. The context that was/is invisible to the image is that of the "victim" having killed multiple police and soldiers over an extended period of time. The influence of the 'still' image, Eddie Adams claims "'Killed' the general" because of the nature and reach of the image.

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