Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 11, 2015

Paris Post-Charlie: Questions and Comments in Getty's Newswire Street Photos

Paris Charlie Bus stop 1

I know the majority of news attention went to the solidarity march in Paris on Sunday. I was more struck, however, by the angles and ideas percolating, non-verbally of course, in Getty’s news wire photos from Saturday. I wasn’t sure which of the two I liked better — the first is more proportioned between the not-so-fashionable woman waiting for the bus and the woman (in fur, is it? with the fancy boots) heading away.

Paris Charlie Bus stop 2

The latent question here is (the woman at the bus stop yawing now, and closer to the margin): will the attack further split the white, well-to-do from immigrants and minorities — so many on the outskirts — straining to make do?

NewImage

Part of the way forward, as opposed to pointing fingers or lashing out, involves asking the right and thoughtful questions. The last few days have seen responses from the considered to the reptilian. If hardly artful, this photograph at Place de la Republique, and so fitting for Paris as street philosophy, is perfect guidance.

Charlie Getty Pinochet

What’s impressive about this photo — thank you, Chileans — is that it challenges the terrorist, political and media narrative of the attack (and the focus of Charlie Hebdo) in terms of a west vs. Muslim binary. It is critical we have or find reminders such as this to avoid reducing the attack to its most polarizing and fundamentalist-serving terms. (Offering another dose of perspective, Daniel Wickham on Twitter called out the Eurocentrism and selective treatment of terror here.)

Charlie Paris Cafe

Finally, suffer the stereotypes … and the travel agents.

(photo 1, 2 and 5: David Ramos/Getty Images Europe caption: Pedestrian walk past a billboard reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) on January 10, 2015 in Paris, France. Four hostages and three suspects were killed when police ended two separate sieges at a kosher supermarket and a printing company on an industrial estate, following Wednesday’s deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine. A fourth suspect, Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, escaped and is wanted in connection with the murder of a policewoman. caption 2 – 1st sentence: A woman waits for the a bus next to a billboard reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) on January 10, 2015 in Paris, France. photos 3 & 4: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Europe caption 3 – 1st sentence: A sign reading ‘How Did We Get There?’ is displayed as members of the public leave tributes at the Place de la Republique (Republic Square) on January 10, 2015 in Paris, France. photo 4 caption – 1st sentence: Cartoons are displayed in tribute as members of the public view flowers and tributes left near the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 10, 2015 in Paris, France. photo 5 caption – 1st sentence: A couple have a coffee in a terrace on January 10, 2015 in Paris, France.)

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