An image at the War Remnants Museum has got me thinking about ethical journalism. It was a photo of a terrified family holding on to one another; the caption read that the photographer asked a firing squad standing out of the photo’s frame to hold fire so that he could take his shot first.
I think he exploited the family in their time of ultimate fear and confusion –at what point does documentation become dehumanization?
I went on to irrationally slander war journalists for passively witnessing cruelty for their work. I called them cowards. The writing, which I’ll respectfully exclude from Global Osmosis, reflects the frustration and sadness that I felt as I examined the gruesome, chaotic, devastating photos at the War Remnants exhibit. Ignorant to the extent of the war before visiting Vietnam, I was overwhelmed by its chronic impact.
I am a visual learner. It wasn’t until I could see the conflict (euphemism for carnage) between America and Vietnam, in the museum photos that I could even begin to comprehend it.
War photographers, as a whole, are far from cowardly. It would be hypocritical to nark on these journalists who have heightened my understanding of what exactly a war is. And in the same breath I still question where you draw the line and put down the damn camera.