New York University, Lauren Walsh, Professor discussed on BBC World Service


Visual documentation of suffering around the world it's probably more obvious than ever but what is the purpose of taking and showing images of war and crisis what do we see in conflict photography what speaks to us and how is that change will join now live by Lauren Walsh author and photo journalism professor at New York University and by the award winning conflict photographer Ron I Viv welcome both Lauren has just written a book on conflict photography more on that in just a minute I'm gonna refer to it on I've got it here first Ron do you think you could say what do you think the primary role is today all of the war photographer it remains as it always has been this this desire to raise awareness to make the public knowledgeable what's going on in the world and photography being a universal language is something that can often change the some idea of what what are normally refer to as statistics and as example of ten thousand people died here which is the number that is hard to comprehend but when you see an image of somebody somebody that suffered a death or relatives that is mostly reacting to it it changes the viewers reaction to this whole concept do you need to shock is that the only way of moving people I'm not sure it's only shock I think it's looking more for empathy is trying to say you know what your human being people these photographs remain beans and even though they might come from a different part of the world such as always a shock on day I think they are but I think it's important that the way that the photographers are bring those photographs to the viewers as a way to create more of an emotional relationship with the image not to just say like look how horrible this is but also to have a a feeling of I want to help I want to change something I want to understand what's happening Lauren feel book you spoke to run another award winning photographers and and leading photo editors about their experiences tell us about the whole idea behind the book sure the book is conversations on conflict photography just came out and I wanted to think about the role and the value of conflict photography in the contemporary world in a way that I couldn't find in any other books and that was to give voice to the people who make and distribute this kind of imagery so the photographers the photo editors tell us about some of the photos in the book there's a range of photos there are the ones that would fall under that heading of shocking and there are some with dead bodies but there are plenty of images that you would also call beautiful there some you might even calls serene because I think conflict photography can take many forms and conflict doesn't just happen on the front lines of pleads far back from that affects civilians and run photography can change politics counted even a single shot I'm looking from this book a photo of the opposition party candidate for vice president in Panama being attacked by parliament paramilitary supporter of the dictator of Panama this is from may nineteen eighty nine the man's wearing a white shirt that he's hate with blood it's a very dramatic photo is as the protests to raise a stick to him tell us about the impact of that one well the impact which was during an election held by a dictator and the mac covered in blood was the vice president elect being beaten up by paramilitary supporter of the photographs for one up in the covers of many magazines and newspapers around the world and basically told the world that this dictatorship in Connemara was violence was abusing human rights and the United States which at that time and a supporter of the dictator has started to change its policy seven months later when the United States invaded Panama US president George W. bush actually mention the photograph is one of the justifications for the invasion it wasn't that I supported the concept of the invasion but it was his understanding that the tower if you like this could play a role in communication information and education I think that is what we are all trying to do in this world conflicts I just handed Tom rivers another example of a photo that he'll ask you about and maybe describe Tom run it is the the R. can paramilitaries and an individual standing over someone who's just been shot on the streets in the in Bosnia in nineteen ninety two and they kicking the dead bodies are controlling the dead bodies let me ask you this question Ron do you feel that in in this world of the internet social media two pictures have the same impact today is they had maybe in nineteen ninety two are we desensitize as a society the conversation desensitization has been going on since I started doing this job in nineteen eighty nine and so all without question there is an over abundance of imagery I think we only need to look at certain images from the last few years look at the impact of what they've had so we look at the picture of Alan Kurdi the young artist child on the beach look at how that photographs change the conversation about refugees migrant eccentric you look at the United States a photograph from the US Mexican border of a small child crying one while the mother is being interrogated by border police that change the conversation the United States so photograph still can rise above the noise and still have great impact about question the photos that was just mentioned that was used in trials in the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia wasn't it wrong it actually was it was used a number of trials to indict and convict war criminals in fact actually doing research on the photograph first on that I'm working on with Lawrence we discovered that there's a speech given at the beginning of the Hague that the photograph was actually given credit for the inspiration for starting the whole tribunal Laurie curry you know I think this point that you made Lauren about how this is even behind the front lines this is affecting huge numbers of people and I I mean I've found and and I think that's what you're referring to to that you know these are people just like us is the thing and and we're just lucky that we were not the ones there there's there's very little difference and I think when these photos help they can give you that that feeling don't tell you look at this image of these people in a lying there in a sweater on the ground anything how you know that could be any yeah absolutely I think a number the photographers that I spoke to for the book talk exactly about that point of trying to collapse that bridge of distance and to make you identify you the viewer identify in some way like I have a child and I'm seeing a child who's injured and therefore and as Ron was saying I feel some kind of empathy I need to know more with that particular photograph from Bosnian nineteen ninety two when up for this film that run in there doing biography of a photo we've interviewed many people and most people will respond to the sweater right that the the civilian she's on the ground and it's a very identical identifiable sweater and they'll often say oh my mom had a sweater like this or I have a sweater like that and yet becomes a point of identification away for a person to move inside a photo and a history that may otherwise have been outside from their life are you sometimes worried about an unhealthy interest of in images of extreme violence and conflict some people will look such images on the internet just because of the content I think it's something to certainly think about when I interviewed the photo editors they're the ones who are often grappling with this how much how much violent imagery do I allow it to go forward to be disseminated how much do we hold back and most of the photo editors that I interviewed would say things like if it's so violent that it's going to make the viewer turned away I don't want to publish it I want to pull you into the story not push you away from the story I don't want to create sensationalized stories I don't I mean that was this even a question of how much let's say terrorist created imagery should we are a true media entity ever publish a because it's it is news when terrorists attack but you also don't want to give a platform to terrorists so this this question of do we disseminate that kind of imagery or not run a final word to you on this war photographers are a red breed and they often die early if not that mentally affected by the things that they witness how long do you intend to go on well I mean I I have actually grappled with the concepts like PTSD and saunas and many of my colleagues and something to appreciate its impact but I do think that having witnessed the impact of my photography on the world it's it's it continues to inspire me that I need to keep doing work like this as well as the next generation has to come in and do it and and they are doing it sing amazing work from current conflicts that are affecting the way people think about the way the world works today many thanks Ron Aviv photographer and Lauren Walsh author of a new book called conflict photography you with weekends on the World service and was staying with photography now at the end of the program but photography of a very different type of woman of another era mentioned door a mall and generally people either what know the name might vaguely remember that she was once the girlfriend of artist Pablo Picasso a new exhibition at the Tate modern here in London sets out to reclaim Dora mas own artistic work as photographer and painter Arantes correspondent Vincent Dowd has this report the new show it mixes cultural and social history and passionate romance in nineteen thirties in nineteen thirty five Dora Marr was stills photographer to Paris film studio she met Pablo Picasso twenty six years her senior and already famous mark became his lover and some claim the most important news he ever had professor Mary and cools wrote a book about your mom a very great fashion photographer fascinating because as a such peculiar photographs very surrealist arriving shadow we and that feeling of sort of doom and gloom round them and then some remarkably funny she was so dramatic durable and also with to get that for eight years she photographed progress on his best known painting in nineteen thirty seven his portrait crying woman was in part at least based on her but the early a photography was almost forgotten commission for elegant fashion magazines and documentary work recording the poor of Paris Catalonia and briefly London and a Louis Tate modern there's a kind of dark glamour two door mas work there's also a playful element that is times borders on the subversive on assignments for friends street photography she also contributed to surrealism after they split mark more often painted this just one recording of Dora ma made in nineteen ninety by Francis Morris who now runs take Milton did you cry a lot because so well this is the best it's a little bit too personal to talk about she says the years with cancer who did bring happiness but also fury biographer Mary and Coles says as a personality Dora mall was the castle's match it was certainly the most intellectual of them she could talk about so when we got to get an echo anything else world events she could discuss them of course in Spanish with him he was with a as well as dramatic and her kind of a motion then carries over into that discussion and what was going on do you sing she just accepted that she would not have frankly that no woman would have an exclusive relationship with Pablo Picasso accepted anything that whole angah meant that she never never accepted anything door model was not accepting person the exhibition has well over two hundred images marshaled for fashion magazines exhibitions and a real take reviews I'm a Lewis says she deserves to be reassessed to remind us to reduce photography for to montage assessing the better nine nowadays some elements of this exhibition the street photography the extent of her commercial photography I think will be a surprise to many visitors as well have painting but it's it's almost impossible for anyone who's in cafes orbit to survive that without being someone that the existence of the cast a shadow history is how does that and now is the opportunity to look again at the stick is it's very difficult to know we can only speculate what would have been most courageous victory had she not cast a interest indoor mall after her years with cancer who used to be nonexistent the show let's take molten runs until March and asks if Dora Marr should not be more than just a footnote in someone else's biography Vincent download reporting Laurie a woman in Picasso's life was and the intellectual match of the great man who to thought off the art world is getting a little less sexist I think it's really interesting it's a moment where these women are coming out from the shadow of these men and you realize that they were in every way they're equal but it just wasn't the the time where they were allowed to be recognized for that I just saw I mean I completely astonishing exhibition of the of Jackson Pollock's wife work here in London and I was floored that I had not heard of her and seen this before it was amazing and so I think it's it's a you know just things have changed and people are going back and looking a little deeper these people that were just completely in the shadow of someone bacon fans hello I think I think it's it's great and the times are changing and and and yes it it becomes more of a a wider review of of what maybe things that we thought we knew about and now we see a more full and detailed complex picture how about all the books that were probably written by the female companion to the famous male right but there's some well and to get my daughter has a sign up this is anonymous was a woman good points nori caring and told rivers have been our guests during the course of the last half hour on this edition.

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