The Visual Politics of Truth and Drama

Via Montclair Socioblog I came across a very interesting film made by visual anthropologist Ruben Salvadori. In this fascinating video Salvadori tries to make visible what is usually invisible: the photographer’s role when taking (or making) pictures. Salvadori did research in East Jerusalem being a newbie among photojournalists and turning his camera onto them exposing how photographers seek, create and stage drama in particular situations.

One of the commenters on Montclair points us to the Medium Cool film wherein the main character slowly but gradually realizes the power of images and how he and others are caught up in recording (or making) sensational events.
Sensationalism turns events into ‘image bites‘ having similar persuasive effects as sound bites on people’s views. The power of these images bites (sometimes purposely used by social movements and politicians as part of their (visual) rhetoric) is that it makes the message almost incontestable because reality is reduced in such a way as to be seen as inherent in the way things are. It turns complex issues into appealing visual constructions that inform and shape people’s common sense. Seeing is believing, right?

And before I forget, check out Ruben Salvadori’s great blog with many more fascinating films and photo’s: Ruben Salvadori Photography Blog – Open Your Eyes.

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