About to Die: How News Images Move the Public by Barbie Zelizer

By Barbie Zelizer

Because of its skill to freeze a second in time, the picture is a uniquely strong equipment for ordering and figuring out the area. but if a picture depicts complicated, ambiguous, or debatable events--terrorist assaults, wars, political assassinations--its skill to steer notion can turn out deeply unsettling. Are we actually seeing the realm "as it is" or is the picture a fabrication or projection? How do a photo's content material and shape form a viewer's impressions? What do such pictures give a contribution to historic reminiscence? 'About to Die' makes a speciality of one emotionally charged class of stories photograph--depictions of people who're dealing with coming near near death--as a prism for addressing such very important questions. monitoring occasions as wide-ranging because the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the Holocaust, the Vietnam battle, and 11th of September, Barbie Zelizer demonstrates that modes of journalistic depiction and the ability of the picture are enormous cultural forces which are nonetheless faraway from understood. via a survey of a century of photojournalism, together with shut research of over sixty photographs, 'About to Die' offers a framework and vocabulary for realizing the scoop imagery that so profoundly shapes our view of the realm.

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S. 64 And, as discussed earlier, Muslim and feminist Web sites were filled with laments about what was seen as a gratuitous display of Neda Agha-Soltan’s streetside death in Tehran in 2009. As one writer for the Toronto Star phrased it: News organizations have been on the receiving end of grisly photos since the invention of the camera. But there’s never any debate over whether we will show the blood-spattered body of a murder victim. . We just don’t do it. . If the victims are not one of us, if they live far away or have no names or cultural commonalities, they’re fair game.

Berghaus & C. Upham/Library of Congress/Public Domain; “The Attack on the President’s Life,” LC-USZ6Z7622, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, July 16, 1881, 332–333. 32 • About to Die the president had been removed to the hospital. Although McKinley did not die until the following week, when gangrene set in from his bullet wound, drawings of the shooting were based on the verbal recounting given by one of McKinley’s secret service agents to the Buffalo press. Though one scholar maintained that “none of [the accounts] were accurate according to eyewitness accounts,” pictures appeared, as with the earlier assassination of Lincoln, of the assassin, of a bedridden McKinley being nursed by his wife, and the following month of the assassin facing his execution.

7: hung onto the fire escape and then Stanley Forman/AP, “From Marlborough Street,” Boston Herald American, July 22, 1975. tumbled to the ground five stories 42 • About to Die below. “I was shooting pictures as they were falling—then I turned away . . ”27 The Boston Herald American ran the photo of the two in mid-air, titled “From Marlborough Street,” as a fullpage image, five columns wide, on its front page. Additional pictures followed on page three of the newspaper. The Associated Press distributed them worldwide.

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