Tuesday, 16 February 2010


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A few days ago Pepe Baeza, in the interesting series of conferences in the framework of activities around the FotoPress 2009 exhibition, said something that made me think.
Pepe talked about all the obstacles being put to the work of photojournalists, many sibylline such as "kill the messenger." One of the most recent and dramatic case was with the image awarded with a World Press, taken by South African photographer Kevin Carter.

The critics were merciless. That if the vulture was he, why not save the child instead of taking the picture ...

We photographers know that each photo involves a high degree of subjectivity. Another photographer who was with Carter explained that it was a very tight frame that excluded dozens of children whose parents were in the neighborhood collecting food provided by UN personnel. After some shots the vulture flew.
I see it as a symbolic picture. Carter used a telephoto lens that reduces the actual distance between the child and the vulture and that, of course, is not in danger of being devoured by it. This picture symbolizes the state of plundered Africa for years and years of colonialism, by dictators supported by many Western countries that benefit from its raw materials and sale of weapons.

Pepe Baeza explains it very well. "It turns out that the perpetrators are those who say do not take photos of the victims.”They want Kevin Carter to save all African children instead of describing what is happening, in a speech blaming the witness."
It is the argument that is imposing the neoliberal trend under the heading of "Respect for the dignity of the victims," among many other obstacles to eliminate annoying testimony to their interests.

All this reminded me that in one of the universities where I teach photojournalism I showed my story about The Peace Village, a German organization that cures children injured in third world wars and that was published on the cover of the Magazine of La Vanguardia. Seeing the photo that heads this article, and that was also part of an exhibition entitled "Disasters of War", one student said, "but, can it be published? What about the girl rights?
My God, These are the journalists of the future? Who is teaching this at the university?
I answered, “The girl in the picture doesn’t care about being photographed, what it’s really annoying her is being burned and injured in a forgotten third world war.

Heavens! I hope that teachers like Pepe Baeza, Sandra Balsells, Laura Terré, Silvia Omedes or myself, amongst others, may amend these outrages.

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