Thursday, 28 June 2007

IMAGES OF WAR


By Fatmir Terziu
(Photography in the age of the simulacral)
Photography of war has become more debatable. It has its advantages and disadvantages. This paper aims to analyse both in a simple way.



At first the photographic heritage of the Spanish Civil War increased interest among public viewers, because it was the first war, which was photographed. The visual vocabulary of war photography was established as a genre by this war. Its best images have a greater complexity than previously which links them more closely with later twentieth-century conflicts like the Vietnam War.
Since Spain photography has functioned as a kind of witness. Photographers themselves have grown disillusioned about what their profession can achieve. In the market emerged horror photographs from Rwanda, with the news of large-scale massacres. In the Gulf War, the Observer in London, published a gruesome photograph of a burned Iraqi staring sightlessly from his truck. By this time the technology of photography could show events and represent them as evidence. In terms of the fortunes of the photography wars like the Vietnam War, Britain’s Falklands Campaign, the war in the Gulf, and later the Balkans War and the War on Terrorism has become a crucial test to the belief in photographic truth.
Meanwhile in the Vietnam War the graphic television coverage brought home to Americans the nature of the war itself, its bloody brutality, and the suffering of Vietnamese civilians. It was described with the epithet ‘living room war’. The new technology of television gave more to the American citizens, but according to Hopkinson “the television camera does not show the horror of war anymore than the typewriter…”. The pictures, of children fleeing a Napalm attack or of a police chief shooting a Vietcong suspect through the head, and others articulated and retrospectively identified the attitude of the war. Through these pictures though the US public saw very little blood and on the whole supported the war. Adams’s photograph which helped him win the Pulitzer Prize was described by Hamilton as “…not an anti-war image, but it showed a wide range of political, ideological and moral positions”. Freelance photographer Chapelle took a similar photo as Adams’ as early as 1962 but the press rejected it. By 1969 the mood had shifted again. At first correspondents supported this war, but when they saw that government policy was not working they said so. Yet the perception that the media lost the war for the US has proved persistent. That, and increasing American casualties sapped public support for the war and the United States pulled out. The power of witness is embodied in images like Adams’s ‘execution shot’.
On the other hand, while “US living rooms were filled with images” from the Vietnam War there was an absence of British photographic media from the Falkland’s War. Media representatives “called to testify before the House of Commons about the lack of facilities for the transmission of black and white photographs”. British power elites, fearing that “the images might turn the people against the war”, blanked out virtually all photographic coverages. Soon Americans too were only seeing what their government permitted them to see.
Furthermore, it was during the Gulf War that photography’s power to deceive reached its height. The arrival of television cameras transmitted the first live television war. Also, Mitchell argues that “photographic meaning can now been manipulated electronically, by shifting the relative positions”. In the Balkans in 1990s again reminded the public that the power of photography was still alive by bringing more bloody images. Later photographs, which appeared from the war in Iraq in 2003, brought up an ugly side of the war but increased debate. After a surprisingly swift inquiry it concluded that some photographs were "fake". Today an even bigger problem for photography is the ease of manipulation with the computer.
To sum up it can be said that photographs will still be inserted into our culture. Their role will always be as an information source, but there is still debate about them being a witness. Further the television camera has created a doubt over people believing in images of war transmitted electronically.

THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED ON 24 MARCH 2003:

TERRY LLOYD SYMBOL OF FREEDOM
24 mars 2003 / TN / Fatmir TERZIU At that time when Balkan Peninsula, Europe and entire world was holding with hands the wounds of Kosovo war, I don’t think that there is any Albanian that hasn’t fixed in their mind that portrait, that freedom’s messenger, that brave man, that wonderful journalist and reporter… Terry Lloyd, the best-known ITV journalist, exactly in that time bombardments, ethnic cleansing and massive graves started to report from frontline about the truth and freedom for Albanian people in Kosovo. His job was perfect and he was among the first group of journalists from around the world to report the good news for Albanians and all people of the entire world that supported their war to freedom, from the last communist dictator in Europe.
From that time ITV journalist, Terry Lloyd, was every night with Albanians, was with them at every problem and he was trying to report every problem they had. But wars are wars. It is much worse when dictators are going to be very aggressive on their last hours of ruling. And so, when wars aim for the freedom of people, they also take peoples’ lives…
A war, similar to the one in Kosovo, but this time fought for the freedom of the people in Iraq, by bad luck, stopped Terry Lloyd’s words. But he will never really be gone. His words will live on forever in the minds of the people he reported about.


24 mars 2003 / TN / Fatmir TERZIU - Atë kohë kur Ballkani, Europa e mbarë bota mbante me dorë plagët e Kosovës, nuk mendoj se mund të ketë shqiptar që s'e ka fiksuar at portret, atë lajmëtar lirie, atë trim, atë gazetar e reporter të mrekullueshëm...Terry Lloyd, gazetari me zë në ekranin anglez pikërisht në atë kohë bombash, granatimesh, spastrimesh etnike e varresh masive e nisi fjalën e tij të drejtë e të saktë për ne shqiptarët,për të drejtën tonë, për lirinë e një trungu të prangosur për vite me rradhë nga diktatorë e diktatura, nga gjakpirës e kasapë të çmendur të Ballkanit të lashtë...
E që atëherë gazetari i ITV-së, gati ishte përnatë në odat tona, në çadrat tona në kampet e përvuajtjes së shekullit të kaluar, ishte me të gjithë ne, deri në ditën e Madhe të Kosovës..., deri në ditën kur NATO dhe miqtë e pavdekshëm të shqiptarëve SHBA e UK, i dhanë dushin e fundit të bombave njeriut që gjykohet sot në Hagë për krime ndaj njërëzimit.
....Por luftrat janë luftra! Aq më shumë kur diktarët bëhen lubi e bisha në strofkën e tyre të shpirtdhënies. E kur ato, pra luftrat, synojnë thyerjen e prangave dhe lirinë për miliona njërëz të shtypur, çudi marrin edhe jetë njërëzish... Njërëzish,miq të mirë të lirisë.
Një luftë e egër, gati me një moral e situatë të njëjtë me atë të Kosovës, që synon prej ditësh lirinë e popullit irakien, për fat të keq ia la TERRY LLOYD, fjalën në mes. Por Ai zor se mund të besohet ndryshe. Jo,s'duhet thënë fjala tjetër për të... Ai është diku thellë mes betejës, diku larg mes bombave, ashtu siç e njihnim të gjithë,ashtu siç duhet t'a njihnim të gjithë ne gazetarët, për të marrë lajmin i pari..., lajmin e fitores mbi diktatorin. Po! Ai është atje...

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