August 5, 2014

On Carolyn Cole’s Striking Photo of an Injured Muslim Woman in Gaza

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Burkas and chadors have consistently fascinated Western news photography, magnetic not just as a symbol of Islam or for setting woman apart but for the amalgam. A prominent sub-category of the subject matter, if you will, is the young woman wearing makeup mingling the chaste temperament of Islam with the Western beauty ideal. I hope you’ll forgive me for stating it this way, but realizing those elements within the visual tide of this horrific Gaza crisis with all its injury and death turns this already notable symbolism on its ear. Speaking for myself, I can hardly remember a news photo of a woman in a chador laying injured, let alone lying down.

To the extent the photographs from Gaza have been horribly blasphemous to both sides, this picture takes its place within a bullhorn of damages — to journalists, aid workers and infants; to hospitals, school and, notably also, to mosques. Above all, this photo is indicative of an open season on places, situations and scenes that, if not necessarily sacred or taboo, have been more traditionally out-of-bounds.

via the LA Times slideshow: Israel-Gaza Conflict

(photo: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times. caption: Treating the wounded:The dead and wounded are rushed to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after an explosion July 30 in the market in Shujayea during what was supposed to be a four-hour humanitarian cease-fire.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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