Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 14, 2015

Front Pages: German Papers Point to Israel-Palestine in Paris Attacks

As Bag contributor Philip Perdue pointed out yesterday, the world leaders solidarity march in Paris wasn’t exactly Selma. Putting aside how staged it was, however, I imagine you’ve already come across this cover of the Jewish Orthodox newspaper, HaMevaser, which scrubbed all the women from the photo-op for modesty’s sake.  Of course, those that called out the Orthodox paper all mentioned the prominent erasure of Angela Merkel. What the action brings up in a classic way, however, is ultimately the provincial nature of visual news.

With that in mind, I became curious about how the German papers chose to frame things. Intending to do some gender sleuthing, a different feature in the German front pages quickly jumped out that actually made the erasure by the Orthodox paper that much more awkward and ironic.

Yes, Die Welt went for a “we are the world” wide pan that captured at least five women in the front row.

(Just so you know, the women who went missing — according to the photo above, l to r — are: Federica Mogherini, a EU official, in the long brown coat; Anne Hidalgo, a European Union official in the blue scarf; Princess Rania of Jordan in the blue, next to Abbas; and Simonetta Sommaruga, the president of Switzerland in the red scarf.)

Bremer Nachrichten went for a tight shot, but one that included three of the women.

And Passauer Neue Presse and Frankfurter Allgemeine each captured two of the women.

What you see in the rest of the examples, however, is how much the focus of the visual narrative — given Netanyahu and Abbas as book ends and the symmetry of Merkel and President Hollande as the fulcrum — became about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

If the German editors tacitly suggest the terror attacks have much to do with Israel and the Palestinians, HaMevaser — with their doctored Netanyahu out front alone and Abbas askew — missed that too.

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