Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 20, 2016

On the Photos of the Russian Ambassador’s Assassination in Ankara: Our Tweet Thread

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia's ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The chilling murder of the Russian Ambassador in Ankara yesterday was a photographic event, as much as it was a serious political event. But the overlap between online and social media, visual culture, and war and terror is so complex, it’s actually hard to make sense of what we’re looking at.

 photo 2: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images. Caption: Andrey Karlov (front), the Russian ambassador to Ankara, lies on the floor next to his killer who still point his gun to people attending an art exhibition in Ankara, on December 19, 2016. A gunman crying "Aleppo" and "revenge" shot Karlov while he was visiting an art exhibition in Ankara on December 19, witnesses and media reports said. The Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been "neutralised" in a police operation, without giving further details. How do you parse out the difference in these pictures, for example, between information, sensation, evidence, propaganda and witnessing? In the hours after the event, we had some thoughts and questions:

We would also refer you to the first-hand account by photographer Burhan Ozbilici that was published by AP. Several of the facts speak to many of these questions.

(photo 1: Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press. caption:A man identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas holds up a gun after shooting Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. Shouting “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!” Altintas fatally shot Karlov in front of stunned onlookers at a photo exhibit. Police killed the assailant after a shootout. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici) photo 2: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images. Caption: Andrey Karlov (front), the Russian ambassador to Ankara, lies on the floor next to his killer who still point his gun to people attending an art exhibition in Ankara, on December 19, 2016. A gunman crying “Aleppo” and “revenge” shot Karlov while he was visiting an art exhibition in Ankara on December 19, witnesses and media reports said. The Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been “neutralised” in a police operation, without giving further details. 

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