January 12, 2009

From Jaffa

activestills Jaffa 1.jpg

Late last night, I put up a post attempting to examine the difference between Western and Eastern media treatment of Gaza atrocity photos. In looking at it this morning, it felt that the display of the images, and particularly my intellectualized treatment of them, was inappropriate.

As you know, I’ve been working from various stances and themes in order to examine the imagery of the crisis. In spite of the complexity of the challenge, especially in light of the passions it evokes, I remain dedicated to pursuing it. I feel that way because the images as images are too important and I don’t see anyone in the sphere attempting, in a not purely ideological way, to lend him or herself to the visual politics.

With last night’s photos still in mind, I offer this image — still, not an easy one — instead.

One dimension of the coverage I’ve been thinking about is how the mainstream visual media has largely overlooked pictorial examples of Israeli dissent. This photo from Saturday, captured by a photoactivist organization in Israel called ActiveStills shows a group of Israeli protesters in Jaffa. Again, we see visuals of atrocity, but in this case, the shock value is more constructively utilized. Offset with the face of upset citizens and memorial candles, these photos are applied as a small act of conscience in the Israeli street.

(Update: 10:36 PM PST: Studying this further, one thing the photo might actually suggest is that the Israeli resistance movement, at least at present — as the NYT asserts today — might not be all that big.)

(image: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org photostream via Flickr)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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