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#337887 - 04/22/07 03:59 PM looks can be deceiving
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Consider this article and discuss:
http://www.theprogress.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=39&cat=48&id=968410&more=
Quote:

You can’t always believe what you see



By Arthur BLACK
Apr 22 2007


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but whoever said it was seriously low-balling the powers of the visual. A picture – as in a photograph – can be worth ‘way more than that. Here’s the story of three photographs, one of which turned the course of a war; another of which destroyed an industry; and a third which torpedoed the career of a would-be prime minister of Canada. What’s more, the photographs were lies.

Or rather, they misrepresented what they showed. Harry Callaghan, a famous American photographer once said “a photographer is able to capture a moment that people can’t always see.” Which is true, but it’s also true that a photographer can sometimes produce a picture that completely misrepresents reality.

Consider one of the iconic photos on the twentieth century – the fiery explosion of the Hindenburg zeppelin over Lakehurst, N.J., in 1937. The photo looks like something Goya might have painted. It shows showers of sparks and flames billowing out of the cigar-shaped craft as it drifts earthward like a stricken whale. The photo made the front pages of newspapers around the world.

It also killed the Zeppelin business stone dead. Before the Hindenberg crashed, Zeppelins were considered the safest and by far the most pleasant form of air travel around. Regular flights ran between Europe and the U.S. Passengers dined on white linen with real silver and listened to dance bands as their crafts wafted back and forth over the Atlantic. There was talk that Zeppelins would soon replace luxury liners – even trains.

One photograph changed all that.

The irony? The Hindenberg disaster wasn’t that big a deal. Only 35 of the 97 passengers on board died. New Jersey’s highways routinely claimed more lives on an average holiday weekend. The fact is, if there hadn’t been photographers on the scene to record the horrific explosion, Zeppelins would probably be a commonplace sight in our skies today.

Flash forward to 1968. Again, one morning the front pages of newspapers around the globe carry a single, stark, horrifying photograph. It is taken on the streets of Saigon and shows a man in combat fatigues calmly putting a bullet in the head of a Vietnamese who is young, handcuffed and incongruously wearing a plaid, short-sleeved shirt.

The executioner looks like a callous murderer and the photo generates knee-jerk revulsion and an instinctive backlash against the Vietnam War and the U.S. role therein. Everybody feels instant empathy for the poor young man so summarily dispatched.

Again, irony raises its gnarled head. The ‘poor young man’ is captain of a Vietcong terrorist squad which had slaughtered dozens of unarmed civilians that day. His executioner is the Saigon chief of police.

But that’s not the story the photo told. From the moment the picture hit the papers, the police chief’s life went into a downward spiral. He lost his job and emigrated to Australia, where he was shunned like a leper. He went to the U.S. where he ran a restaurant for awhile – until his identity was disclosed as ‘that killer in the photo’ and he was driven out of business.

Eddie Adams, the Associated Press cameraman who took the photo, won a Pulitzer Prize for it, but it didn’t give him much pleasure. As he later said: “the chief killed the Vietcong with a revolver; I killed the chief with my camera.”

Doug Ball could relate to that. He was a photographer with Canadian Press back in 1974, assigned to Robert Stanfield’s campaign to become Canada’s 19th Prime Minister. On a cross-Canada swing the campaign airplane landed in North Bay for refueling. Everybody got out on the tarmac to stretch their legs. Someone produced a football to throw around. Stanfield was game. Doug Ball got out his camera.

He shot an entire roll – 36 exposures – of Stanfield playing catch. He ran into the terminal and had Air Canada Express send the film to CP headquarters in Toronto for possible inclusion in the next day’s newspapers.

Most of the photos Ball took showed Stanfield either throwing or catching the football with surprising grace and elegance. Only one of the photos showed him knocked-kneed, hands grasping empty air and wincing as the ball squirted out of his grasp. Guess which photo the newspaper editors chose.

When the Globe and Mail came out the next morning, there was the photo splashed across the front page with the headline “A Political Fumble?” Southam columnist Charles Lynch, who was also on the campaign plane asked Doug Ball if he’d taken the picture that was on the front page of the Globe.

“When I said yes,” Ball recalls, “Lynch said, ‘Trudeau just won the election’”.

And he was right.

Eddie Adams, the Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist once said: “Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world.”

He was right too.







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#337888 - 04/23/07 12:49 PM Re: looks can be deceiving [Re: Ed_Morris]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Looks...sounds...everything can be deceiving when taken out of context or placed in a venue that would have a normally disinterested viewer being led to certain conclusions.

Funny, I remember George C. Scott in the movie Patton. And hearing his voice bellow out some of the speeches and statements noted to Patton. Having lived on military bases and have met men who served under Patton who told me he had a slight Southern drawl, cursed much more than what the movie showed, was shorter and had a higher voice...sort of takes away from the pressed and preformed image presented in the recreation of his life.

Similarly, we can look at historical figures, and I'll use an American icon---President Lincoln---what if he had a lisp and sounded like he just sucked down a tank of helium when he spoke?

Most people during the 1860s probably read his speeches and imagined the intellect behind the words. Now, you have everything to promote an image...and nothing to surely secure the mind behind the words as you receive them.

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#337889 - 04/25/07 11:19 PM Re: looks can be deceiving [Re: butterfly]
clmibb Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 1035
Loc: South Texas, US
Quote:

Similarly, we can look at historical figures, and I'll use an American icon---President Lincoln---what if he had a lisp and sounded like he just sucked down a tank of helium when he spoke?

Most people during the 1860s probably read his speeches and imagined the intellect behind the words. Now, you have everything to promote an image...and nothing to surely secure the mind behind the words as you receive them.




I've heard from my history professor that Lincoln had a high pitched voice. Just a little FYI.

Casey
_________________________
"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."- Ronald Reagan


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#337890 - 06/12/07 04:51 PM Re: looks can be deceiving [Re: clmibb]
Alistar Offline
Newbie

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 21
the picture from the american general in vietnam shooting s V.C. who had killed many of the generals men, turned the public opinion of the american people around.
this picture is an illustration of something that simply happens in a war. just by seeing the face of the man who is about to die the people completely change theire minds!
how naive...
_________________________
tsuyokereba iki, yowakereba...shinu

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#337891 - 06/14/07 01:41 AM Re: looks can be deceiving [Re: Alistar]
Bushi_no_ki Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1667
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
This also depends alot on who publishes such a photo. Walter Cronkite said "this war is now unwinnable" and the US vehemently protested the Vietnam War, when in fact we had all but won after the Tet offensive. Now, if the National Enquirer had said that, 500,000 men would have enlisted the next day, and the war would have been over, with a treaty, within a month.

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#337892 - 06/14/07 01:57 AM Re: looks can be deceiving [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
crablord Offline
th3 t4sty sn4ck

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 1530
Loc: Australia, QLD, GC
damn hippies
_________________________
"They say the only way to kill a lion is with a rear naked choke, but I'd just kick it in the head"

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#337893 - 06/14/07 01:58 AM Re: looks can be deceiving [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

"this war is now unwinnable"





All wars are unwinnable. The winners taught they had 'won' only because they (especially the political leaders) conveniently forgot to count the costs in human lives, misery and tragedy in order to 'win' it.
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#337894 - 06/14/07 09:27 AM Re: looks can be deceiving [Re: Ed_Morris]
groundfighter Offline
Member

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 53
Loc: Petawawa, Ontario, Canada
Very interesting post.
_________________________
train how you fight, fight to live.

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